In its 12th and final season on the air, The Big Bang Theory is still doling out hefty paychecks to its core cast members. When Forbes magazine released its annual breakdown of highest-paid male TV actors in 2018 on Wednesday, four of the top five slots belonged to regulars from the sitcom, with Jim Parsons topping the list at No. 1.
According to Forbes, Parsons has claimed the top spot for the fourth year in a row, earning $26.5 million (pretax) in the 12 months preceding June 1, 2018. In second place is his costar Johnny Galecki, who earned $25 million pretax in the same period. Tied at No. 3 are their cotars Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg, who each earned $23.5 million. Forbes attributes the drop to Nayyar and Helberg's lack of side projects in comparison to Galecki and Parsons.
https://media.giphy.com/media/hDKowDDB2BTaw/giphy.gifIn 2017, all four Big Bang Theory actors and costar Kaley Cuoco took $100,000 pay cuts each in an effort to help their costars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, get higher pay, per a report from Business Insider. However, according to Forbes, their salaries still increased through the show's back-end, which adds an estimated seven figures for each actor per year.
Last year, Business Insider reported that while the original five actors each received an estimated $1 million per episode, Bialik and Rauch were only receiving $100,000 for the same work. The outlet noted that the $500,000 cut from the original five's salaries were distributed to the latter actors accordingly.
Although, as noted by Entertainment Tonight, the female actors on The Big Bang Theory are not present on the new Forbes report, it's because the magazine publishes its earnings reports based on binary genders each year. Between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017, Cuoco earned $26 million before tax, placing her right between Parsons and Galecki — so it's likely she'll be on the list of female stars, hopefully along with Bialik and Rauch.