NEW YORK — “The Big Bang Theory” does a bang-up job of making its stars rich.
The CBS comedy claims TV’s four best-paid actors, according to the annual list released Thursday by Forbes .
Jim Parsons led with a $25.5 million take between June 2015 and this June, Forbes said, followed by cast-mates Johnny Galecki ($24 million), Simon Helberg ($22.5 million) and Kunal Nayyar ($22 million).
In fifth place: Mark Harmon, star of CBS’ drama “NCIS,” was paid $20 million (as with all these actors, before management fees and taxes).
Forbes’ list of TV actresses, released last week, reaffirms the generous salaries for “Big Bang” stars: Leading lady, Kaley Cuoco placed second on that list, with $24.5 million.
In that top spot: ABC’s “Modern Family” bombshell Sofia Vergara, with $43 million.
Brooks, Freeman lead White House award winners
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is honoring actors Mel Brooks and Morgan Freeman for their contribution to the arts.
The two performers and others are getting the 2015 National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony. Obama says those being honored are the best in their field and give every piece of themselves to their craft.
Other winners this year include composer Philip Glass, actress and singer Audra McDonald, author Sandra Cisneros and painter Jack Whitten. Musician Santiago Jimenez Jr. and playwright Moises Kaufman round out the list.
Obama also is honoring winners of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, including celebrity chef Jose Andres, jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, public radio host Terry Gross and author James McBride. Authors Rudolfo Anaya, Louis Menand and Ron Chernow are also on the list.
Cotillard announces pregnancy, denies Pitt reports
LOS ANGELES — Marion Cotillard is announcing her pregnancy and shooting down rumors of any romantic involvement with Brad Pitt.
“This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into,” the Oscar-winning actress wrote in a statement posted Wednesday on Instagram.
The star of such films as “The Artist” and “Rust and Bone” said that she is “not used to commenting on things like this nor taking them seriously but as this situation is spiraling and affecting people I love, I have to speak up.”
Cotillard affirmed her longtime relationship with actor Guillaume Canet. The couple are parents to a 5-year-old son. She said in her Instagram post alongside a photo of bird soaring through the sky that he is “the only one that I need” and they are expecting another child.
The actress, who won an Academy Award in 2008 for her performance as the legendary French singer Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose,” stars with Pitt in the upcoming World War II romantic thriller “Allied.” Several reports this week suggested a relationship between Cotillard and Pitt was the reason Angelina Jolie filed for divorce on Monday.
“This crafted conversation isn’t distressing,” Cotillard wrote. “And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery.”
Takei musical ‘Allegiance’ will be broadcast in Dec.
NEW YORK — If you weren’t able to catch George Takei’s musical “Allegiance” on Broadway, here’s another chance — at your local movie theater.
Fathom Events will broadcast a digital recording of the show to movie houses nationwide on Dec. 13.
“Allegiance,” based on Takei’s memories of being forced into a Wyoming internment during World War II, is a multigenerational tale with two love stories. It co-stars Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Takei.
The show had a premiere in 2012 at the Old Globe in San Diego and, when it opened in New York on Oct. 6, marked the first Asian-led cast of a musical on Broadway in more than a decade. It closed after 150 performances.