By any metric, “The Big Bang Theory” is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Debuting on CBS in 2007, the classically-produced comedy series concerned a friend group made up of ultra-genius scientists who worked in and around the prestigious Caltech as they navigated a social life for which they were ill-prepared. It ran for nearly 300 episodes, and spent many of its seasons as one of the most-watched shows on TV, made stars out of its cast, and will likely air forever in reruns.
It’s because of that omnipresence — thanks to the huge bank of episodes on hundreds of local channels, cable outlets, streaming services, and international broadcasters — that “The Big Bang Theory” generated almost as much money as the actual Big Bang generated energy. Every member of the show’s main cast is set for life, and then some, what with all the really good salary packages, royalties, and the lucrative, non-“Big Bang Theory” projects they were able to take on because of the popularity of “The Big Bang Theory.” In descending order, from least extremely wealthy to the most extremely wealthy, are net worths of the cast of “The Big Bang Theory,” which are so big and staggering they’ll make you say “bazinga!”
Wil Wheaton's financials are out of this world
Wil Wheaton appeared on only 17 episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” between 2009 and 2019, but he arguably made the biggest impact of any recurring star on the sitcom. Wheaton, a former child actor best known for his role as teen ensign Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” played a heightened and comically nasty version of himself. As the “Big Bang” gang were all huge sci-fi fans, they worshipped anyone who ever had anything to do with the “Star Trek” franchise, but his arc mostly revolved around Sheldon Cooper — Wheaton was Sheldon’s longtime nemesis who always seemed to outsmart the genius, because every hero needs a villain.
According to TheThings, Wheaton cashed a $20,000 paycheck each time he appeared on an episode “The Big Bang Theory” — not bad for a few lines in a couple of scenes. That was a nice stream of income for the actor (and podcaster and TV host), as are the royalties he receives for the perpetual rerunning of “The Big Bang Theory,” along with fees he gets from his decades-old work in films like “Stand By Me” and “The Last Starfighter” as well as “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Wheaton also makes a more than decent wage on the lecture circuit — a single speaking gig nets the personality upwards of $100,000. Add it all up and according to Celebrity Net Worth, Wheaton’s estate totals about $1 million.
Kevin Sussman got rich playing a financially anxious comic shop owner
Stuart Bloom, the constantly poverty-adjacent, lovelorn, self-deprecating owner and operator of the favored comic book shop the comics-loving characters of “The Big Bang Theory,” first appeared in the second half of the second season. Kevin Sussman portrayed the character until the 2019 series finale, showing up in 84 total episodes, sometimes as a guest star, often as a recurring actor, and, for a while, as a billed part of the regular cast, according to Deadline. Sussman pulled on his own experience as a broke actor to play the broke shopkeeper. “While I was a struggling actor I worked at a comic book store in New York,” he told MyFanbase. “Jim Hanley’s Universe – it’s still there, right near the Empire State Building.”
Pretending to be a comic shop clerk paid a lot better than being a real one. According to WealthyPersons, Sussman earned $50,000 every time he played Stuart Bloom in some capacity. That’s also the salary he can command for a speaking event or personal appearance, according to AAE Speakers. Factoring in Sussman’s salary and royalties for major roles in the first season of “Ugly Betty” and two entries in the “Wet Hot American Summer” franchise, the actor (and sometimes writer) has a net worth of about $3 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Melissa Rauch's character was tiny, while her net worth is massive
Melissa Rauch completed the core cast of “The Big Bang Theory” and was the last actor to earn a spot in the show’s opening credits. She first appeared in a Season 3 episode as Bernadette Rostenkowski, a friend of Penny’s whom she sets up with Howard, and it doesn’t go well. Rostenkowski, with the character later fleshed out into a Cheesecake Factory waitress paying her way through school to become a world-class microbiologist who speaks alternately in a mousy whisper and blood-curdling scream (and yes, eventually marries Howard).
Because Melissa Rauch joined the show relatively late, she missed out on the per episode salary, royalties, and profits that most of her castmates would enjoy, so she pulled in a starting salary of about $30,000 an episode, according to Deadline. Just before the start of Season 7, the outlet reported she got a contract extension and a raise that doubled her per-episode rate, as well as a clause that bumped that up incrementally to $100,000 over time. In the final two years of “Big Bang,” Melissa brought in the big bucks with a $450,000-per-episode paycheck, per Variety.
Along with starring in outside projects like “The Laundromat” and “The Bronze” (which she co-wrote), Melissa and husband Winston Rauch started After January Productions. According to Deadline, the company has a distribution deal with Warner Bros. TV, and the two firms will produce her next series together, a reboot of “Night Court.” According to Celebrity Net Worth, this makes for a net worth of $20 million for the “Big Bang” alum.
Mayim Bialik's finances blossomed after The Big Bang Theory
While she appeared as the strange and inscrutable neuroscientist Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on more than 200 episodes of “The Big Bang Theory,” Mayim Bialik was not an original cast member — she joined the show in Season 3. Previously best-known for portraying the title role on iconic ’90s teen sitcom “Blossom,” Bialik’s initial salary on “Big Bang” was in the neighborhood of $200,000 per episode, according to Variety. In 2017, and thanks to longer-serving main cast members taking a pay cut of $100,000 each, Bialik and Melissa Rauch saw their quote soar to $450,000 per episode.
The real money in entertainment, apart from network sitcom money, is in owning the content. Bialik took that path with Sad Clown Productions. Formed in 2019, according to Deadline, she quickly made a deal with major television distributor Warner Bros. TV Group. That arrangement, per Deadline, led to the development of the Fox sitcom “Call Me Kat.” The show earned a second season renewal in May 2021, according to TVLine, bringing Bialik paychecks as both star and producer.
Like her character, Bialik is a neuroscientist in real life, holding a Ph.D from UCLA in the discipline, according to NCWIT. That came in handy in 2021 when she signed a deal to be the paid celebrity spokesperson for Neuriva, a line of brain health supplements. With her acting, producing, and commercial endeavors, Bialik has a lot of assets and money in the bank. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she’s worth about $25 million.
Kunal Nayyar earned big bank from Big Bang
When “The Big Bang Theory” premiered, Kunal Nayyar was the least known original cast member, but quickly established himself as a vital part of the success of his show, portraying shy physicist Raj Koothrappali. Initially, Nayyar earned $25,000 an episode, per Deadline. In 2010, that per-installment salary was increased substantially to $75,000. Beginning with the eighth season of “The Big Bang Theory” in 2015, according to Forbes, he earned $1 million per episode. That figure fell a bit when Nayyar and some of his fellow cast members parted with part of their own salaries so co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch could enjoy a pay raise.
In 2019, Nayyar purchased a 7,100-square-foot Tudor mansion in the Hancock Park area of L.A., according to the Los Angeles Times. Listed at a pricey $8 million, he got it for a steal at $7.5 million. The following year, the Los Angeles Times reported he unloaded his previous home, a Hollywood Hills estate, for just under $4 million.
All that makes for a sizable fortune, as do other lucrative show business opportunities, like Nayyar’s voice-acting role as Guy Diamond in two “Trolls” films. Add it all up and according to Celebrity Net Worth, Nayyar’s net worth sits at $45 million.
Simon Helberg played a creep and watched his bank balance creep up
The closest thing early “The Big Bang Theory” had to a villain was Howard Wolowitz, an aerospace engineer who thinks he’s the universe’s gift to women, despite living with his mother and crudely hitting on any female human he encounters. A recognizable face from TV comedies like “MADtv” and “Reno 911,” Simon Helberg hit the jackpot when he signed on to play Howard. His original “Big Bang” salary was around $40,000 per episode, according to Deadline. In 2010, he renegotiated his contract and got a raise to $100,000 per episode. By the final years of “Big Bang,” Helberg was earning $1 million per episode, per Forbes, but as Variety noted, that amount was eventually cut a bit to help fund a raise for co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. According to Variety, that not-so-shabby salary has gone toward a $6.87 million home in Los Feliz.
Helberg has been the most successful cast member of “The Big Bang Theory” when it comes to branching out into movie roles. During his run on the sitcom, he played Rabbi Scott in the Oscar-nominated “A Serious Man,” earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the period comedy “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and played Quinn in the rom-com “We’ll Never Have Paris,” which he also wrote, co-directed, and produced. With his wife, Jocelyn Towne, Helberg helps make content via their production company, Wildline Entertainment, per Variety.
All those ventures add up, and they add up nicely. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Helberg’s net worth totals $45 million.
It doesn't take a scientist to understand why Johnny Galecki got rich
In 2007, Johnny Galecki, a decade removed from his role as lovable loser David Healy on “Roseanne,” returned to TV with “The Big Bang Theory,” portraying astrophysicist and Sheldon’s extremely patient roommate Leonard Hofstadter. In 2014, Galecki negotiated a new contract with CBS, which had just issued a three-season renewal, per The Hollywood Reporter. At the time, per THR, “Big Bang” was the most-watched comedy on the most-watched network, meaning Galecki could ask for — and receive — $1 million per episode for the eighth, ninth, and tenth seasons. That was a significant jump from his already substantial per-episode rate of $350,000. The actor’s pay dropped to $900,000 an episode in the final two years of “The Big Bang Theory” because he took a cut to help give co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik a raise. (But he still got a percentage of the profits from all those episodes, from now until eternity.)
In 2011, Galecki took what at the time amounted to about three weeks’ pay to buy a 160-acre California ranch and estate. According to the Los Angeles Times, he paid $1.2 million for the property, which included a “workshop, an unfilled pool with a swim-up bar, a silo and a vineyard.” After much of it was destroyed by wildfire, per TMZ, Galecki put the property up for sale for $850,000 in 2018.
And that’s just a fraction of his fortune. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Galecki boasts financial assets of around $100 million.
Kaley Cuoco played Penny and made gold
Probably the most familiar face on “The Big Bang Theory” when the show premiered in 2007 was Kaley Cuoco, a veteran of long-running hits “8 Simple Rules” and “Charmed.” At first, she earned about $60,000 per episode. According to Deadline, a contract renegotiation in 2010 led to a raise of around $200,000 for each episode, with incremental bumps, ending with Cuoco making $350,000 per episode by 2014. At that point, CBS gave Cuoco another raise, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, she earned $1 million per episode for Seasons 8, 9, and 10 of the show. In the two seasons after that, Cuoco took home $900,000 — like her fellow original castmates, she took a pay cut to raise that of co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.
Cuoco rakes in millions from “Big Bang” reruns, and her other TV appearances have proven lucrative, too — endorsement deals with Priceline and Toyota netted her $2 million in 2013 alone, per Forbes (via Good Housekeeping). Since “Big Bang” ended in 2019, Cuoco has made even more money. She sold a home in Tarzana, California for $3.95 million, per the Los Angeles Times and, as Deadline reported, okayed a pact between her production company Yes, Norman, and Warner Bros. TV Group. As a producer, she bought the rights to the novel “The Flight Attendant,” and then made the show for HBO Max, in which she also starred. All told, Cuoco’s net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth, is about $100 million.
Being on The Big Bang Theory made Jim Parsons exceptionally wealthy
Perhaps it’s not so surprising that the richest former cast member of “The Big Bang Theory” is the show’s central character, breakout star, and four-time Emmy Award winner. Jim Parsons brought nuance, warmth, and humor to the character of Caltech theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper — an otherwise rude, idiosyncratic, stubborn, and generational genius.
Little-known before “Big Bang,” Parsons soon became the face of the show as it skyrocketed in popularity. In 2010, he was given a bigger piece of the money “Big Bang” generated for CBS and producer Warner Bros., negotiating a raise from $60,000 per episode in Season 3 which steadily rose to $350,000 for Season 7, per Deadline. Along with a bigger weekly paycheck, he also secured 0.25 percent of the show’s “backend” profits, which amounted to no less than $1 million a year. In the latter years of “Big Bang,” Parsons earned $1 million for each and every episode, according to The New York Times.
Jim Parsons made a lot of money away from The Big Bang Theory, too
While Jim Parsons earns substantial sums whenever a “Big Bang Theory” episode runs somewhere, he’s still cashing checks in the Cooper-Verse, serving as the narrator and an executive producer of the prequel series “Young Sheldon.” With his husband, Todd Spiewak, Parsons helps get a lot of TV onto the air — since 2015, they’ve operated That’s Wonderful Productions. Parsons has a hand (and a stake) in shows like “Call Me Kat” and “Special.”
And, according to Forbes, his series of commercials for Intel, in which Parsons capitalized on playing a scientist in order to pitch technology, earned the actor millions. All things considered, the heaps of cash he pulled in for selling his Los Feliz property in 2019 —according to the Los Angeles Times, he racked up just shy of $7 million — is relative pocket change for the actor-turned-media mogul. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Parsons, the most well-off of the many well-off former cast members of “The Big Bang Theory,” has an estate worth $160 million.
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