Why CBS Pays Jim Parsons More Than Mark Harmon Per Episode

Jim Parsons: the man behind the socially awkward physicist, boasting a lack of empathy and a complete disregard for all things sentimental. Parsons has been playing the iconic Sheldon Cooper for the last twelve years; however, across time, his pay has substantially increased, as he now makes approximately $1 million per episode of The Big Bang Theory. Way to go out with a bang (cheesy pun intended).

Jim Parsons and Mark Harmon
Jim Parsons Photo by Vivien Killilea / Stringer via Getty | Mark Harmon Photo by CBS Photo Archive / Contributor Via Getty

Mark Harmon is the man with a charming smile and a hard-working attitude known for playing the Naval investigator committed to justice. With looks that could kill (as in his glares), Mark Harmon has become the face of the NCIS franchise, and the glue that holds the series together. However, though making nearly approximately $19 million per year, according to Forbes, which includes his income from serving as an executive producer on the show, he is reportedly paid $525,000 per episode of NCIS.

Jim Parsons, according to Forbes, makes $26.5 million each year; however, with $1 million an episode coming from The Big Bang Theory, it’s clear that Mark Harmon is paid much less for his performance than Jim Parsons. So, why the discrepancy? They both are equally vital to their respective shows and, arguably, the main source of their productions’ success.

Jim Parsons fought for raises while on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

In 2013, UPI released a story discussing the cast of The Big Bang Theory, and the group request for raises. According to UPI, several seasons back, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, and Jim Parsons banded together and demanded a raise. At that point, they were each making $325,000 per episode.

When negotiations ended, they reportedly walked away making approximately $500,000 each per episode. However, renewing their contracts once again, following this stint in 2013, presumably led to the $1 million payouts (per episode) for each of the five original cast members.

Rumor has it, Jim Parsons may be the very reason that The Big Bang Theory is coming to an end, as he refused to accept a pay increase to stay on the show. While this is all just speculation, Parsons must have some significant acting plans on the horizon if he walked away from yet another pay increase from CBS. To make a long story short, it seems that keeping Parsons may have required financial baiting (over and over again).

Does Mark Harmon fight for raises on ‘NCIS?”

What about Mark Harmon? Mark Harmon has, many a time, stated how grateful he is to be a part of NCIS. Starring in the lead role on the most-watched show on the air is a gift not to be taken lightly, as he himself has explained in the past.

While not much information exists surrounding Mark Harmon’s pay (and there is a possibility that the last reported figure is skewed), the actor is involved with NCIS beyond his leading role. Thus, he may not find it necessary to ask for an increase, as he makes a lot of money backing his own show, as well as the two spin-offs. While this is all speculation, Mark Harmon has also revealed that he knows, come the end of NCIS, there might not be much left for him in Hollywood,at least not like NCIS.

Mark Harmon may be the star of NCIS, but the show has succeeded, and continues to thrive, despite losing main cast members left and right. Could the show survive without Mark Harmon? Probably not. However, with all the money Mark Harmon brings in, through his complex involvement with the franchise, does ne heed to make more per episode? When it comes to paying, business is business, and CBS isn’t just going to double Mark Harmon’s pay (no matter how much he may deserve the increase).

When it comes down to financial compensation, the most probable explanation regarding the discrepancy here: Jim Parsons is likely more of a pusher.