'Modern Family': Will a Salary Dispute Trash the New Season? [POLL]
The Cast Members Have Sued to Nullify Their Contracts
It's getting ugly between the cast of TV's biggest primetime comedy, Modern Family, and the company that produces the show. The series' breakout stars have banded together to sue 20th Century Fox Television in an effort to void their current contracts.
That action would open the possibility of negotiating much larger raises for themselves, as the actors and actresses on the show claim their current contracts, which reportedly cap their raises at between four and five percent per year, are illegal.
Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara say in the lawsuit that their contracts are illegal under the 7-Year Rule, which makes personal service contracts of more than seven years illegal.
The specific glitch: the stars had reportedly been offered $150,000 per episode, plus a $50,000 bonus per episode, for the fourth season, which is scheduled to premiere on ABC in September.
Ed O'Neill, the Married … with Children star who plays the family patriarch on Modern Family, negotiates his salary separate from the rest of the cast, as he was the most established star when the series debuted. But he joined the lawsuit action after the initial filing, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Hollywood Reporter has the cast's current salaries at around $65,000 per episode, with O'Neill earning around $100,000 per episode, which, while sounding like gobs of money to the rest of us, is certainly not out of line with what most cast members of hit TV shows make.
But the stars are asking for double what they've been offered, THR reports, especially if the show runs for eight or nine seasons.
The cast's tactic of negotiating as a group is one that worked well for the stars of another hit sitcom; the cast of Friends always maintained a united front in contract negotiations, which eventually earned them $1 million per episode salaries.
Modern Family is one of the most important shows on ABC's schedule, and five of the cast members of the show are nominated for Emmys this year. Burrell, Bowen and Stonestreet have already nabbed Emmys for their Modern Family roles in the past, and the show is the reigning Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy champ.
The cast had been scheduled to gather on Tuesday for a table read of the season premiere episode, but the table read was postponed in light of the contract hubbub.
Are the "Modern Family" cast members being greedy?
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