Malcolm In The Middle star Jane Kaczmarek is returning to Fox with a starring role in the network’s half-hour pilot from writer Ricky Blitt, The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki and producer Stephen McPherson. The project, …
The Quiet Before The Storm: Warner Bros TV Readies Offers To ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Cast, In Talks With CBS For New 3-Year Deal
For long-running series, time is usually not on the side of the cast when they have to negotiate new deals because ratings inevitably erode as shows get older. But that will not be the case with CBS‘ The Big Bang Theory, which, in Season 7, is still at its peak. Things are quiet and there has been no movement yet on the actors, but I hear producing studio Warner Bros TV will likely go out to the three leads — Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco – after the first of the year. The contracts of the trio, along with original cast members Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, are up at the end of this season, as is CBS’ deal for the show with WBTV. I hear the studio and the network have started discussions about a new license fee deal. Like the last one, I hear the renewal will likely be for three seasons, which means the studio and the network would likely try to lock in Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco, Helberg and Nayyar for the same term. (Big Bang‘s other regulars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, recently closed new deals.) Like the last time, in 2010, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco are expected to go first, followed by Helberg and Nayyar. (The former three are repped by the same law firm, Hansem, Jacobson, Teller, and are expected to negotiate together.)
There is no doubt about it — both the license fee and cast deals will be huge. After all, Big Bang Theory is the biggest show on broadcast television. The comedy is running neck and neck with NBC’s Sunday Night Football for the highest-rated program this season adults 25-54, averaging a 8.6 in the most current ratings to SNF’s 8.8. The way Big Bang has separated itself from the pack is staggering. Among adults 18-49, Big Bang averages a 6.8, with the next three series — NBC’s Blacklist (5.0), ABC’s Modern Family (5.0) and NBC’s The Voice (4.9) — almost two rating points behind.
In May 2010, a day after CBS announced Big Bang‘s move to Thursday 8 PM from its protected Monday 9:30 PM berth, I wrote a column, Is ‘Big Bang Theory’ The Next ‘Friends’? At the time, I felt the multi-camera comedy about a group of friends held the promise to become as successful as its NBC predecessor in the Thursday 8 PM slot. Big Bang has more than delivered on that promise. It is even more dominant than Friends was in its heyday, positioning itself to contend for the type of blockbuster deals Friends – produced by the same studio, WBTV — landed in its last major renegotiation for Season 9. At the time, WBTV broke a record for the highest license fee scored by a half-hour series when NBC agreed to pay $7 million an episode.
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy writer Ricky Blitt has teamed with The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki and producer Stephen McPherson for Here’s Your Damn Family, a multi-camera comedy produced by Warner Bros TV, the studio behind Big Bang. The project has sold to Fox, where McPherson has a first-look deal, with penalty. It marks Galecki’s first sale as a producer. Here’s Your Damn Family centers on a stunted, set-in-his-ways thirtysomething man living with his mom who finds his perfectly organized world upended when his mother/roommate gets married, and her new husband plus his three teenage children move in.
Blitt created the project on spec and then further developed it with Galecki. The two have been friends for more than a decade, since working together on another Blitt-written Fox comedy project, 2002 pilot Becoming Glen. Galecki played the title character in the project, who draws some parallels to the lead in Here’s Your Damn Family — a thirtysomething guy living with his parents. (Fox later remade Becoming Glen as the 2007 series The Winner starring Rob Corddry.) Because of his relationship with Warner Bros through Big Bang, Galecki took Here’s Your Damn Family to the studio. McPherson then joined up with them, and the project was taken to Fox. (The comedy falls outside of his first-look deal at Lionsgate TV.)
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
Undergrads from UCLA’s Honors Physics 1B — who take this class because ordinary physics just isn’t difficult enough — were in for a surprise when they took a field trip to Warner Bros. Studios to be part of the live studio audience for CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. The set always features whiteboards marked up with dizzyingly complex equations. And it took awhile for any student to notice that today’s equations were the solutions for the midterm exam they’d taken that day. As Big Bang physicist Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) might say: Bazinga! This visual gag was a lot like the continual pranks of Sheldon and his geeky pals on the show. But the man behind this in-joke was their professor, particle astrophysicist David Saltzberg, who also serves as science adviser on Big Bang.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Steve Carell, The Office
Why He Was Nominated: It’s Carell’s sixth consecutive nomination for his role as the dunderheaded Michael Scott on The Office, and his departure from the NBC comedy this past spring spawned a big-time farewell. Credit network marketing as well as the fact Carell has wide popularity throughout the industry. You get the feeling that he could have stayed on this show for 15 years and been nominated every time.
Why He Has To Win: It literally is now or never, and Carell’s submission for the Emmy (his swan song, “Goodbye, Michael”) was a potent blend of pathos, tears and mirth that also generated a nod for writer/exec producer Greg Daniels’ teleplay. If that isn’t enough, there’s the feeling that Carell’s body of work on a show that began life as a warmed-over imitation of the British edition deserves a golden sendoff. “Carell didn’t try to squirm out of his TV contract even after becoming a feature guy,” a writer and academy member notes. “That scores big points.” Historically, both Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) and Michael J. Fox (Spin City) have won trophies on their final lap.
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Well, he hasn’t taken the thing home in five previous tries, so it’s possible Carell simply has a big “Bridesmaid” tattoo etched on his forehead. The Office is also seen as having lingered a bit too long at the dance by some. It’s possible that he already blew his best shot here: when the series earned top comedy honors in 2006. And sentiment doesn’t always carry the day, as the perpetually passed-over John Goodman (0-for-7 for Roseanne) could attest.
With star Kaley Couco sidelined by a broken leg following a horseback accident last weekend, The Big Bang Theory is taking a breather to give more time to the actress to recuperate — and to the writers to figure out how to handle her absence. The Warner Bros TV-produced show is on a scheduled week-long hiatus, which started on Wednesday. Now it has been extended for another week. Cuoco missed the taping at the beginning of this week, and probably won’t be able to start right after the hiatus ends. But producers are optimistic that she may be gone for as few as 2-3 episodes altogether. It is not clear if her injury will be written into the show. But it seems clear that the actress will be able to make a full recovery.
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Big Bang Theory’ Stars Score Huge Paydays After Hardball Bargaining; Jim Parsons Told ‘Take It Or Leave It’ Today
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the stars of The Big Bang Theory are getting fat new paychecks just as the hit CBS comedy is getting ready for its big move to Thursdays next week. After almost 3 months of negotiations with series producer Warner Bros TV, Big Bang leads Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons have agreed to a major salary hike that would bring the trio’s salaries to $200,000 an episode for the upcoming fourth season, up from about $60,000 last season. The salaries will rise to $250,000 in Season 5, then $300,000 in Season 6 and 350,000 in Season 7. Additionally, they will each receive .25 point of the series’ lucrative backend and will be paid $1+ million as an advance against it now and another $1 million in Season 7. That effectively adds another $50,000 to their per-episode paycheck over the life of the deal.
I hear Galecki and Cuoco, who have been negotiating together, closed their deals on Monday in a face-to-face meeting between their representatives and Warner Bros following a powwow with the two actors and their teams on Friday where the studio’s final offer was presented. Meanwhile, recent Emmy winner Jim Parsons had been holding out for more money and had handled his negotiations separately despite the fact that he is represented by the same law firm as Galecki and Cuoco (Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman). I learned that Parsons was offered the same deal as Galecki and Cuoco and given a deadline to take the take it or leave it by today. He just accepted. Talk about hardball: I hear the studio, which had made it clear it was planning to do “favored nations”-type deals (paying all the stars the same), was prepared to table re-negotiations with Parsons until next summer if he had turned down the offer.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage.
Jim Parsons is kinda sitting on top of the world these days after having just landed his 2nd consecutive Emmy nomination for his role as the brilliant nerdball physicist Sheldon Cooper on the CBS hit The Big Bang Theory. But it’s also a time of real anxiety for him as well. For one, he’s nervous about both winning and losing an Emmy category where he’s considered a frontrunner. And when his competition includes 3-time winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and 2-time victor Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) along with perennial nominees Steve Carell (The Office) and Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) plus newcomer Matthew Morrison (Glee). Parsons is also a bit on edge because of the tense salary renegotiation going on right now between Warner Bros TV and the three Big Bang leads (Parsons and co-stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco). Parsons, 37, spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about the Emmys, his finances, and the best thing about being a rich and famous TV star.
Deadline Hollywood: So, is this Emmy thing in the bag or what?
Jim Parsons: What? No! Of course not.
DH: It’s what those in the know are saying.
JP: Well, that’s great. But the way I see it, you can look at the Emmys two ways in you’re nominated. It’s either win-win or lose-lose. If things go very well and I win, you still have to get up in front of a group of people and risk having God knows what come out of your mouth. If you won’t win, you have to breathe deeply and smile and clap with a camera in your face. Last year, just before they announced my award, I was weak in the knees and had sweaty palms. It wasn’t because I was nervous about winning or losing. It was having to accept the trophy if I did win.
DH: And then you lost.
JP: Yes! So it all worked out. But I still don’t see the odds being with me winning. It’s…what is it? One in six. But you know, my competition is awfully good. My stomach is already in knots. The problem is that I don’t drink, so I can’t calm myself that way. I wish I could be better at pretending I don’t care.
Coming this summer to CBS and WBTV, it’s renegotiations time for the Big Bang gang. The CBS comedy is coming off a red-hot 3rd season and a gigantic off-network syndication deal, putting the cast of the show in a prime position for big salary bumps. Which brings me back to a post I did a month ago titled Is The Big Bang Theory the next Friends? The two comedies share a similar setup: ensemble multi-camera sitcoms about single twentysomethings, the majority of them living in two apartments across the hall; similar ratings strength: Big Bang is now the highest-rated scripted series on TV just like Friends once was; and now the two also share the same time slot, Thursday 8PM, after CBS decided to move Big Bang there in the fall.
Yes, I felt the two comedies had a lot in common… until now. One of the signature moves of the Friends cast was that they negotiated their deals together in an all-for-one, one-for-all fashion, getting to $100,000 per episode each in their first go-around with producer Warner Bros. TV after two seasons and eventually to $1 million per episode. Now, the cast of Big Bang is facing their first salary renegotiation with WBTV following a record-breaking syndication deal for the show, that netted the studio $2+M per episode. But I hear one of the three leads, Jim Parsons, is considering negotiating separately from co-stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco.