'Big Bang Theory' actors set for big payday

AFP
Cast members of "The Big Bang Theory" (L-R) Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Johnny Galecki at the The Alzheimer's Association's "A Night At Sardi's" on March 4, 2009 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California
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Cast members of "The Big Bang Theory" (L-R) Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Johnny Galecki at the The Alzheimer's Association's "A Night At Sardi's" on March 4, 2009 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California (AFP Photo/Frazer Harrison)

Los Angeles (AFP) - The three main stars of popular US television sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" have reportedly reached lucrative new pay deals, ending a delay to the start of production on the show's eighth season.

Emmy winner Jim Parsons, along with co-stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, have roughly tripled their salaries and will now be earning about $1 million an episode, according to the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

The trio signed three-year deals, meaning they will stay with "Big Bang" through its 10th season, the industry journals said.

That is about the same pay level as was earned by the co-stars of the runaway hit "Friends" starring Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, who negotiated their deal as a group.

Production on the 24-episode season eight of "Big Bang" would likely resume on Wednesday after about a one-week delay over the salary dispute, the two Hollywood news outlets said.

The other two stars of the CBS show, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, are still in negotiations but expected to reach deals this week with production company Warner Bros., the reports said.

The show focuses on the lives of a group of scientists -- the egomaniacal genius physicist Sheldon Cooper (Parsons), his roommate and fellow physicist Leonard Hofstadter (Galecki), their colleagues Howard (Helberg) and Raj (Nayyar), and their waitress friend Penny (Cuoco).

"Big Bang" averaged about 20 million viewers an episode last season, making it the most-watched comedy in America.

The show has been nominated for the best comedy series Emmy, and Parsons -- a three-time Emmy winner in the role of Sheldon -- is nominated again this year. The Emmys will be handed out on August 25.

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