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'The Big Bang Theory' actors get $25,000 an hour

August 6, 2014: 12:39 PM ET

Big Bang Theory salaries

'The Big Bang Theory' actors Simon Helberg and Johnny Galecki have a lot to cheer about with their new salaries.

Call it the ultimate revenge of the nerds -- or, at least, the actors playing nerds. The cast of the hit CBS (CBS) show "The Big Bang Theory" are receiving stunning raises for the upcoming seasons.

Cast members portraying Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter and Penny will now make $1 million each an episode. That's akin to what the 'Friends' actors got at the end of that show's historic run -- and it's a big boost from the $300,000 per show they were receiving this past season. Who wouldn't want a 233% raise?

Related: 'Big Bang Theory' co-stars sign new contracts

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actors who play Raj Koothrappali and Howard Wolowitz also inked new deals giving them substantial bumps in pay.

Just how sweet of a deal is this?

Let's put it in hourly wage terms.

The upcoming season is supposed to have 24 episodes. While filming for each episode can vary, it typically takes about a week to rehearse, do wardrobe fittings and film the scenes.

If "The Big Bang Theory" actors are working roughly 40 hours a week, that would translate to $25,000 an hour.

Even if you give the actors the benefit of the doubt and say they work 60 hours a week (12 hours a day), that still comes out to more than $16,000 an hour.

Compare that to other professions:

As CNNMoney has reported before, the median wage for fast food workers is a mere $8.81 an hour. Retail sales associates, one of America's largest professions, and janitors make around $10 an hour, according to U.S. government data.

Construction workers and secretaries hover around $15 an hour.

Nurses and accountants have it a bit better with median hourly wages of about $31 an hour.

Even at the high end, dentists average $70 and doctors $90 for an hour of their time.

Of course, these are median and average salaries. There are workers who make more and less, and "The Big Bang Theory" actors are clearly at the top of their craft and on a show that is making huge money for CBS.

But consider that even top New York City lawyers struggle to charge much more than $1,000 an hour to big corporate clients.

Big-time lawyers can perhaps console themselves that 'The Big Bang Theory' supporting actresses who play Amy and Bernadette only make about $1,000 to $1,500 an hour (or $60,000 an episode), according to their latest contracts.

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Heather Long
Heather Long
Markets & Investing Editor, CNNMoney

Heather Long is markets and investing editor for CNNMoney. She was formerly an assistant editor at The Guardian and an editor at The Patriot-News, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. She started her career at the investment consulting firm Cambridge Associates and is a Rhodes Scholar. Follow her on Twitter @byHeatherLong

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