‘The Big Bang Theory’ Will Officially Be Back After Season 10

Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Johnny Galecki, and Kunal Nayyar on The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory | CBS

Over the last several months, there’s been plenty of speculation as to whether Season 10 could be the last for The Big Bang Theory. While some of the series’ stars and producers have seemingly hinted that the long-running sitcom could soon be meeting its end, fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The CBS comedy has officially been renewed for two more seasons.

According to Deadline, CBS Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television have reached a deal for a two-year renewal of The Big Bang Theory — which means fans can look forward to new episodes through the 2018–2019 television season. The news comes after months of negotiations between the network and the cast, whose previous contracts with the show expired after Season 10.

With the cast already raking in huge paychecks, the question remains: Will the network opt to renew the costly comedy? The answer is yes, but there’s a catch.

Mayim Bialik as Amy in The Big Bang Theory

Amy on The Big Bang Theory | CBS

Per Deadline, all of the show’s original cast members — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar — have signed new two-year contracts to continue. But two co-stars have yet to strike new deals for the upcoming seasons: Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.

As fans know, Bialik and Rauch (who portray The Big Bang‘s Amy and Bernadette, respectively) have played a crucial role in the show’s cast since Season 3. Despite that, both stars have made significantly less money per episode than their co-stars. Over the last few years, the duo have only raked in about $200,000 per episode. This is not an insignificant amount, but nowhere close to the $1 million per episode that the others take home.

In February 2017, Variety reported that Bialik and Rauch were holding out to get a better deal, which delayed the official announcement of the show’s renewal. The publication suggested that the two had the full support of co-stars Parsons, Galecki, Cuoco, Nayyar, and Helberg, who reportedly even agreed to a cut in their salaries — about $100,000 less per episode — in order to free up more money for Bialik and Rauch. That would have resulted in an extra $500,000 to split between Bialik and Rauch’s contracts, making their respective salaries almost half a million dollars per episode.

Melissa Rauch as Bernadette in The Big Bang Theory

Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory | CBS

It’s unclear why the actresses have yet to formally finalize their contracts, but both are reportedly very close to making it official. If the contracts move forward as expected, both Bialik and Rauch will be making about or above $500,000 per episode.

This marks the first time that the ensemble has undergone negotiations since 2014, when the entire cast struck deals for increased salaries. Those talks actually went relatively smoothly, with production for Season 8 only delayed about a week. The current negotiations have obviously dragged on for longer than predicted, probably due to the already sky-high paychecks of the rest of the cast.

Jim Parsons as Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory | CBS

One thing’s for sure: The Big Bang Theory will now come with an even bigger price tag than before. Assuming that the current deals are closed, it will cost a whopping $7 million per episode just to pay for the cast’s salaries. Add in all the other expenses the sitcom requires — like actual production fees — and CBS has one of the most expensive comedies on TV on its hands.

Despite the high costs, the network has plenty of reasons to want to keep the show around. As Deadline reports, The Big Bang Theory remains the most watched scripted series on television, with more than 20 million viewers per episode. In addition to earning stellar ratings, the show is the second highest rated scripted series in the key 18–49 adult demographic, with a 5.8 score.

The cast of CBS's Big Bang Theory sitting around a table with tropical drinks

The Big Bang Theory | CBS

Those are incredibly strong numbers, especially in today’s television landscape, and none of CBS’ other comedies even come close to matching it. Given those ratings, the network has plenty of incentive to bring the series back for more seasons, even though those episodes don’t come cheap.

Fans will have to stay tuned to see whether Bialik and Rauch will agree to the new terms and sign on to future seasons of the show alongside their co-stars. In the meantime, the two-season renewal should come as good news to loyal viewers who have long since been waiting to find out what The Big Bang Theory’s fate will be.

The Big Bang Theory currently airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.