x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

The Big Bang Theory stars get a lot more bucks for their Bang

Also: Sandra Bullock is Hollywood's highest-paid actress; Broadway's first black Cinderella' Akshay Kumar donates costumes to animal charity; and American Idol star from season seven dies of a blood clot.

Kaley Cuoco plays Penny in The Big Bang Theory. Photo by Jennifer Graylock / FilmMagic
Kaley Cuoco plays Penny in The Big Bang Theory. Photo by Jennifer Graylock / FilmMagic

The main trio of stars of the smash-hit TV comedy The Big Bang Theory have agreed to new pay deals that will earn each of them about a million dollars (Dh3.67m) an episode, ending a wages dispute that delayed production of the show’s eighth season. The Emmy winner Jim Parsons, who plays the eccentric genius Sheldon, Johnny Galecki, his awkward roommate Leonard, and Kaley Cuoco, their neighbour Penny, agreed on three-year deals that reportedly tripled their salaries. Their co-stars Simon Helberg (Howard) and Kunal Nayyar (Raj) are expected to agree to pay deals this week and production on the 24-episode season is expected to begin today after about a one-week delay. With about 20 million viewers, The Big Bang Theory is the most-watched comedy in the United States. – AP

Out-of-this-world earnings make Bullock Hollywood’s highest-earning actress

The Oscar-winning movie star Sandra Bullock earned about US$51m (Dh187m) last year, making her the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, according to Forbes magazine. The 50-year-old’s big payday was mainly thank to her role in the space drama Gravity, about an astronaut’s struggle to survive after a catastrophic disaster in space, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. The blockbuster movie won seven Oscars and made $716m at the box office. The Hunger Games and X-Men: Days of Future Past star Jennifer Lawrence was the second-highest-paid actress over the past year, earning $34 million, with Jennifer Aniston third on $31 million. – AP

Bollywood stars donate film costumes to animal charity

Akshay Kumar and Tamannaah Bhatia have donated all of the costumes from their new film Entertainment to charity. They were auctioned at the weekend to raise funds for the Youth Organization in Defence of Animals (Yoda), which works for the welfare of street animals. “You see so many stray dogs everywhere and this organisation is for them, where they will be taken care of,” said Kumar. Bhatia was so impressed with the auction that she has decided to auction off all her costumes from her future films. “I feel like Yoda is a great initiative and the money collected can be spent on animals that really need that money and care. So I am going to do this in every film of mine,” she said. – IANS

A real-life fairy-tale ending for Broadway’s first black Cinderella

Cinderella is to be played by an African-American actress on Broadway for the first time. Making her professional stage debut, Keke Palmer, 21, will take over the lead from Paige Faure in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on September 9. She is following in the fairy-tale footsteps of the Tony-nominated Laura Osnes and the Canadian Call Me Maybe singer Carly Rae Jepsen. Palmer has appeared in the films Barbershop 2: Back in Business and Akeelah and the Bee, and in the Showtime TV drama Masters of Sex. Her musical work includes the 2007 album So Uncool and a self-titled 2012 EP. “She acts beautifully, she dances, she sings – she’s an amazing young woman,” said the Tony Award-winning producer Robyn Goodman. “I think she’s going to be just so lovely.” – AP

Tributes to American Idol star after sudden death

The American Idol contestant Michael Johns, who appeared in season seven of the popular singing competition, has died. He was 35. The Australian-born singer’s family said the loss of “a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle and friend” was devastating, but they appreciated the support pouring in from around the world. Fox, the network on which Idol is broadcast, described Johns “an incredible talent” and a part of the show’s family who would be missed. The former Idol judge Simon Cowell tweeted: “A truly great guy. Rest in peace Michael.” Johns was eliminated in an eighth-round shock result in April 2008. He released an album, Hold Back My Heart in 2009. The cause of death was thought to be a blood clot on the ankle. – AP