Production on the upcoming eighth season of "The Big Bang Theory" is postponed as contract negotiations with the five original cast members drag on. Warner Bros. TV, which produces the hit sitcom, confirms the delay.
"Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on 'The Big Bang Theory'-which was originally scheduled to begin today-has been postponed," the studio says in a statement. The production was scheduled to kick off Wednesday, July 31, but Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, who have been seeking hefty pay raises, remain without new contracts.
The contract negotiations began in September last year. Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco reportedly ask for up to $1 million an episode from their current salary of $325,000 per episode, after their co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch inked new deals that gave them substantial salary increases.
CBS chairman Nina Tassler said at the TCA summer press tour about the contract negotiations, "We're feeling very confident that everything will work out. These deals manage to get done somehow miraculously year after year."
Series creator Chuck Lorre was also confident that the issue would be settled before filming began. "It will be fine," he told E! News earlier this month. "Warner Brothers has done this before. Everybody should be very successful and happy and rich. They earned it. It's a great cast. Great cast. It's their time."
CBS has planned to launch the new season of "Big Bang Theory" on Monday, September 22 at 8 P.M. It's unknown if the production delay will affect the premiere date.