Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar reportedly made the gesture while Bialik and Rauch are still in the process of negotiating new contracts, with Variety reporting they’re seeking parity with their costars.
According to Variety, the original five stars, who currently earn around $1 million per episode, would make $100,000 less per episode in a potential 11th and 12th seasons. That $500,000 would be split between Rauch and Bialik, who are both currently in the $200,000 range, bringing their new per episode rate to around $450,000.
CBS and WB had no comment.
Both actresses — who joined the series in season 3 before becoming regulars in season 4 — have become vital to the CBS comedy; the Emmy-nominated Bialik’s Amy Farrah Fowler becoming Sheldon’s (Parsons) live-in girlfriend, while Rauch’s Bernadette Rostenkowski is married to Helberg’s Wolowitz.
Currently in its 10th season, the long-running comedy is expected to be renewed for two seasons — executive producer Bill Prady previously wrote on his Facebook that the deal was already done.
CBS has previously expressed confidence that the No. 1 comedy in primetime would continue past the current season. “We’ll put it on for as long as everyone wants Big Bang on the air,” said CBS chief Glenn Geller at the 2016 Television Critics Association’s press tour last August. “I hope it lasts forever.”
For his part, executive producer Steve Molaro told Entertainment Weekly he wasn’t looking at season 10 as the show’s last, but he does have an idea on how the show could end. “I have personal thoughts that have been floating around in my head, but we haven’t really talked about it,” he said after the season 9 finale. “It always seems like this thing that’s off in the distance forever. Until it becomes closer to a reality, I’m not going to think about it all that much, because it makes me sad.”
The network is also looking to build on the show’s brand. As EW reported in November, CBS is eyeing a spin-off focused on the early years of Jim Parsons’ character Sheldon Cooper, which is currently in the early stages of planning.
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.