‘The Big Bang Theory’: This Is How Much Money Kaley Cuoco Makes From Playing Penny

Kaley Cuoco is the second wealthiest member of The Big Bang Theory cast, only second to Jim Parsons of course. It’s no surprise that the actor behind the “love to hate” character Sheldon takes the top spot. As one of the original cast members, Cuoco’s second-place award isn’t too shabby either. She is currently worth $55 million thanks to her 12-year long stint playing the unforgettable Penny.

With the show coming to a close, Cuoco will have to say goodbye to the character who turned her into a well-known actress. At least she’s walking away with what’s turned out to be a substantial boost to her bank account!

How much did Kaley Cuoco make in the beginning?

No one knew that The Big Bang Theory would turn into such a global phenomenon. As such, the main stars had pretty basic paychecks at the beginning of the show. Her first three-year contract starring on the CBS sitcom was worked out at $60,000 per episode. Considering there were 63 episodes in the first three seasons that puts Cuoco’s total earnings at $3.7 million. 

After negotiating with the big wigs, the 33-year-old actress was able to boost her pay up to an astonishing $200,000 per episode, more than triple the original deal. Season four through six were 24 episodes each leaving Cuoco with a total of $14.4 million. The funny blonde was able to get another pay raise of $150,000 for season seven putting her income for the year at $8.4 million. 

While these numbers are mind-boggling, things got serious from season eight onward! Cuoco, alongside her all-star original cast members, were able to make $1 million per episode up until season ten. Doing the math, that’s 72 episodes equating to $72 million!

How much is Kaley Cuoco making during the final season?

So, what was Cuoco’s income like for the last two seasons? Surprisingly, the number didn’t go up; it went down! Cuoco, Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helbergall agreed to a $100,000 pay cut in season 11. The reason? To free up some of the budget so their costars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik could share in the wealth!

It was a sweet move that resulted in Cuoco taking home $19.8 million for each season. Even with the pay cut, taking home $20 million for a 22-episode foray isn’t too bad! 

How much does Kaley Cuoco make off syndication?

What is syndication? According to Balance Careers, syndication “indicates content that is purchased for use by a local newspaper, TV or radio station.” In order words, syndication allows a show to be run on various networks. With the show being wildly successful, it’s no secret that Warner Bros. has been raking in the dough thanks to its talented actors and actresses. As such, they get a piece of the pie.

While the exact percentage each cast member receives is unknown, what is known is that the show brings in $1 billion through syndication alone on an annual basis. To get a gist of what’s possible, the Friends cast pulls in 2% of the annual revenue driven from syndication. That means each member makes about $20 million a year. If The Big Bang Theory cast negotiated something similar, they are bringing in roughly the same amount and will continue to do so for as long as The Big Bang Theory keeps on running!

So, what are Kaley Cuoco’s total earnings?

For the first twelve seasons, Cuoco made an impressive $123.7 million. In May 2010 the show was picked up for syndication, so nine seasons have resulted in extra paychecks for the cast. If Cuoco was making $20 million from 2010 onwards, that’s $180 million! After some basic arithmetic that puts Cuoco’s Penny-related paychecks at over $300 million, not taking into account convention appearance, sponsorships and other side deals!