The Big Bang Theory cast is standing by its own, it looks like. The CBS stars are still without a contract, making renewal difficult, and the last challenge could be signing Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch to new deals. But it looks like the show's original stars will come to the rescue.
According to Variety, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg said they would take a pay cut to free up money to allow Bialik and Rauch raises. Bialik and Rauch joined the long-running CBS comedy during season three, so they were negotiating separately and had a lower salary than the cast who has been with the series since the beginning. Variety reports the five original stars agreed to each take a $100,000 cut in salary, so Bialik and Rauch's salary would be near $450,000 an episode.
The deals, which will be for seasons 11 and 12, could be the show's final two. With 48 episodes in the deal, Rauch and Bialik could make more than $21 million for the two-year contract.
The cast has been open about their desire to continue—if the deals close—as has CBS.
"We are very confident that everyone involved wants more Big Bang past year 10 and I know Warner Bros. will make those deals," CBS boss Glenn Geller told reporters at the 2016 TCA Summer Press Tour.
Geller told reporters season 12 might not be the end. "We'll put it on for as long as everyone wants Big Bang on the air," he said. "I hope it lasts forever."
Warner Bros. declined to comment and CBS did not respond to request for comment about the salary cuts for Bialik and Rauch.
CBS is also working on a prequel of sorts to The Big Bang Theory following Parson's character, Sheldon, when he was a kid. Think Malcolm in the Middle.
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays, 8 p.m. on CBS.