‘Family’ Dysfunction -
Cast of ‘Modern Family’ Contract Dispute
The off-season is proving to be a cruel summer for ABC and 20th Century Television, the studios behind the hit comedy Modern Family. The series, which is gearing up for its fourth season, is currently embroiled in heated contract disputes with the show’s stars who earlier today rejected the studio’s initial offer made on Monday, shutting down the table read for the upcoming season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal was reported by sources to have been: ” $150,000 per episode plus a $50,000 per episode bonus for season 4; $200,000 per episode for season 5, $225,000 for season 6, and up to $325,000 for an anticipated season 9. The cast is asking for much more, including more than double the offered salary if the show goes 8 or 9 seasons, as expected.”
However negotiations soon broke down as later today after rejecting the studio’s offer cast members Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Ed O’Neill (who was formerly negotiating separately due to the success of prior prime-time sitcom Married with Children) filed suit against 20th Century Fox Television in Los Angeles Superior Court as means to void their preexisting contracts. Sources close to the case report that the Modern Family filed on the grounds of California’s “7-year rule,” a law prohibiting contracts for personal services of running over a period of seven years. Should the Modern Family be successful, this will void their contracts and allow the cast the compensation increase they desire in order to return, a strategy not uncommon for actors. The cast is to be represented by litigator Jeff MacFarland with LA’s Quinn Emmanuel Firm.
Don’t feel too bad for the studios just yet, Modern Family has proven itself robust competition with the series pulling in an average of 13.1 million viewers regularly according to Nielsen. As a result, Modern Family managed to rake in $164 million dollars from advertisers, a 40% increase from the previous year. To add to that, following its successful bow the studio inked a lucrative syndication deal with sources reporting a licensing fee of $1.5 million per episode. While the syndicated run is scheduled for 2013, it should successfully manage to bring in a larger audience. The series has also been a successful Emmy perennial winning Outstanding Comedy Series last year, as well as wins for stars Eric Stonestreet in 2010 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and on-screen couple Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen in 2011 for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively. This year it follows suit with 14 nominations with all six leads nominated for their performances the second year in a row.
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