Deadline

Will TV’s Top Comedy Ever Get Started on Its New Season? With Contract Talks Stalled, Delay in Production Is Looking More Likely

Jul 24, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The uncertainty surrounding television’s highest-rated comedy series is increasing as talks drag on between producers and cast members with little progress, Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com.

The actors on CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” are scheduled to gather in less than a week — July 30 — for the first table read for the show’s eighth season. But none of the original cast members are close to new deals, according to the report.

“The contracts of Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar all expired at the end of last season, and no one would go to work without a contract in place,” Andreeva writes, adding that at this point only two cast members on the Warner Bros. TV series, Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, have contracts.

“A week ago, there were some signs of movement but I hear the communication between the two sides over the past seven days did not result in significant progress to help bridge the gap between what the actors are seeking and have been offered — both on the episodic fee and back-end side,” Andreeva reported Wednesday. “I hear there hasn’t been a face-to-face meeting between WBTV’s negotiating team and the cast’s agents yet, and that is usually how those big negotiations get settled.”

CBS Chairman Nina Tassler downplayed the situation last week during the Television Critics Association press tour, saying: “We’re feeling very confident that everything will work out. These deals manage to get done somehow miraculously year after year.”

The hit comedy is a key player in CBS’s fall rollout, the report notes, with a one-hour premiere set for Monday, Sept. 22, leading into the premiere of the new action series “Scorpion” — which has been described as a procedural take on “The Big Bang Theory.”

Observers have placed the odds of getting a deal done by July 30 at less than 50-50, Andreeva writes. However, even if the start of production is delayed, the premiere date is not in immediate danger, according to the report.

The report adds: “The ‘Big Bang’ negotiations are under extra scrutiny in light of the ongoing takeover attempt of WBTV parent Time Warner by 21st Century Fox. ‘Big Bang’ is one the biggest singular TV assets of the company, estimated to generate up to $3 billion in profits. Nobody is talking, but industry expectations are that, when the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, the trio of of Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco would each cross the ‘Friends’ mark of $1 million an episode and will significantly increase their current back-end stake of 0.25 points.”

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