EXCLUSIVE: Just in times for the holidays, The Big Bang Theory co-star Kunal Nayyar has reached a new salary agreement with the series producer Warner Bros. TV, meaning that all five principal cast members of the hit CBS comedy series have now received substantial raises. I hear Nayyar will be paid around $75,000 an episode, up from about $25,000 he has been getting under his current deal. Nayyar was the least known of the quintet when Big Bang launched and thus started off lower than the others, who were most recently at about $40,000 (Simon Helberg) and about $60,000 (stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco). There had been talk that, just like Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco did, supporting players Nayyar and Helberg might get “favored nations” deals with equal financial terms. But that notion was put into doubt when only Helberg closed his deal a month ago to go up to over $100,000 an episode. Galecki, Cuoco and Parsons’ renegotiations were completed at the same time in September, netting each an equal raise to $200,000 per episode this season, with $50,000 annual increases for the next 3 seasons. Nayyar and Helberg’s deals also include built-in annual raises and Nayyar’s pact may also include a bonus that would bring him closer to Helberg in overall compensation.
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.