Los Angeles Times
Nerds may or may not rule the world, but playing one on TV is currently the most lucrative job an actor can have. The Big Bang
Theory’s Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki were the highest-paid TV stars in the world in 2016, according to Forbes, earning $25.5 million (Parsons) and $24 million (Galecki) for playing brilliant but socially inept physicists in Pasadena.
While average wages in the U.S. grew 19 percent from 2007 to 2015 (from $40,405 per year to $48,089), Parsons, Galecki and actress Kaley Cuoco saw their pay increase by 1,667 percent, from $60,000 per episode during season three to $1 million per episode last year for season 10. But in an unusual move, the stars of the most-watched comedy on prime-time TV— Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco, along with Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg—agreed to take voluntary pay cuts for the upcoming seasons 11 and 12 to free up money for raises for cast members Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. The Hollywood
Reporter estimates Bialik and Rauch will likely earn more than $425,000 per episode, a jump from the $175,000 per episode they’ve been paid for the last three years.
In a six-degrees-ofseparation moment, The Big
Bang Theory is connected to one of TV’s earliest—and most beloved—sitcoms. Sheldon Leonard produced
The Dick Van Dyke Show f rom 1961 to 1966; The Big Bang
Theory’s Sheldon and Leonard are named after the iconic actor/producer/director.