Big Bang Theory stars sign new contracts

The Big Bang Theory The principal cast members are expected to become the highest paid actors on US television

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Three stars of US hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory have signed lucrative new contracts, putting to an end a brief delay in filming of new episodes.

Jim Parsons, who plays lead character Sheldon, Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and Kaley Cuoco (Penny) all agreed to new three-year deals with Warner Bros TV.

Actors Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are still involved in negotiations but are expected to settle shortly.

It was reported the stars were each seeking $1m (£600,000) per episode.

Such a settlement would make The Big Bang Theory's cast members the highest paid actors on US television.

Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco had been negotiating with the studio together, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which added that it was "likely" that a $1m per half-hour show deal had been sealed.

CBS, the show's broadcaster, has yet to comment on the terms of the new settlements.

The principal cast is expected to resume work on Wednesday, a week later than scheduled. It is unclear whether the delay will result in fewer episodes being recorded.

Its main stars did not return to the studios for the first days of filming for the eighth series last Wednesday while their contracts were still under negotiation.

Highest-paid TV stars

Salary per episode

  • $1.8m for Charlie Sheen - Two and a Half Men (2010)

  • $1.7m for Ray Romano - Everybody Loves Raymond (2003)

  • $1.6m for Kelsey Grammer - Frasier (2002)

  • $1.25m for Tim Allen - Home Improvement (1998)

  • $1m for the main cast of Friends (2002) and Big Bang Theory (2014)

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The comedy - which centres on a group of high-functioning science "geeks"- is the most-watched TV show in the US, with an average audience of 23.1 million in 2013-14.

Earlier this year, the show was extended for a further three series, meaning it will now air until at least 2017.

As well as its ratings success, the show has been a favourite at the Emmy Awards, with Parsons winning three times for his portrayal of socially challenged particle physics genius Dr Sheldon Cooper.

The show has also been nominated for best comedy series but has yet to collect that accolade.

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