Go really, really Big, or go home! The Big 3 stars of The Big Bang Theory — Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, and Jim Parsons — just signed deals to triple their salaries, to a whopping $1 million per episode apiece. They're also getting a bigger cut of syndication revenues.
Welcome to the Friends club!
It's a massive pay raise, and a well-deserved one considering what a big hit the CBS comedy is. It's the top comedy, by far, on television. It even draws big ratings in syndication on TBS; reruns sometimes beat broadcast shows among younger viewers.
The $1 million figure matches the famous amount demanded by and given to the six cast members of Friends (though, if you adjust for inflation, the Big Bang-ers are getting less). And their new salaries make Cuoco, Galecki, and Parsons the three highest-paid actors currently on television.
So, who did they just top? A bunch of their CBS cohorts! Ashton Kutcher receives $755,000 for every episode of Two and a Half Men, and his co-star Jon Cryer earns $600,000. NCIS veteran Mark Harmon is next on the list at $525,000.
But those are just actors. If we include other kinds of TV stars (late-night hosts, daytime personalities, etc.), the rankings change.
In fact, the highest-paid personality appearing on television today is… drumroll… Judge Judy!
Yup, that's right: Judith Sheindlin pulls in $47 million a year for her daytime court show, according to TV Guide. That's like Oprah money, right there.
After Judge Judy, we swing to late night for the second-highest earning star: The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who reportedly makes $25 million-30 million a year.
And in case Cuoco, Galecki, and Parsons think they've hit the ceiling for actors' salaries, they should look to their CBS sibling, Two and a Half Men. In 2010, the show made a deal to pay Charlie Sheen $1.8 million per episode. Maybe in three years, they'll be #winning even more.
Watch a clip from The Big Bang Theory: