It’s a show that has been around for a long time, and with good reason. If you’ve seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory, which chances are you have, you know that the show has a stellar cast and provides hilarity as well as emotional content. As a result, the producers are currently in negotiations to begin filming the immensely popular show’s 11th and 12th seasons. Aside from being exciting signs of many more episodes to come, these negotiations are causing a bit of a stir in the best possible way.
In this past season, the five original stars of the show were making about $1 million per episode. These stars include Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, and the original cast’s lone female, Kaley Cuoco. Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch joined the cast later in the series to play Amy and Bernadette. Though they have added immensely to the content of the show, they still make significantly less than the original leads. In 2013, the two women were able to negotiate an increase in their salaries from $20,000 per episode to $60,000. This increase was supplemented with the promise of yearly increases that would eventually get their salaries to $100,000. They are currently in the $200,000 range. Though this is a significant improvement, their salaries are still far behind those of the rest of the cast.
Now that the cast is negotiating its contracts again, the actresses are seeking parity with the rest of their costars’ salaries. Though negotiations are still ongoing, the five original cast members have offered to take pay cuts so that Bialik and Rauch can receive higher salaries. This pay cut would mean that the original five actors would make about $100,000 less per episode. The extra funds would be split between Bialik and Rauch, which would bring their salaries to about $450,000 per episode each.
While this still sets things far from equal, the generosity of the women’s five costars cannot be overlooked. It is easy to accept the way things are and to cite your own powerlessness, especially regarding the pay gap. This problem is deeply rooted in the system, and it cannot be fixed by moving some money around. In fact, it will take time for people to come to expect equal pay as normal.
However, taking action is the only thing that will move us towards a more equal future. We can only make progress if people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary, as demonstrated by the mostly male leading cast of The Big Bang Theory. The gesture is a giant step in the right direction, because it shows a group of strong individuals who believe in equality and will take the action necessary to achieve it.
Though negotiations are not yet complete, NYMM thinks this news is important to share not because of the dollar figures, but because of the powerful gesture of support and solidarity between the cast members of either gender. If we continue to see more of this, we might finally be able to achieve equality.
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