Cast of ‘Modern Family’ strikes new deal
“Modern Family"is a happy family once again.
Key members of the cast of the hit comedy “Modern Family” have signed new deals with 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces the show for ABC said Friday.
The agreements come just days after six cast members -- Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell and Ed O’Neill -- filed a suit against the studio in an effort to break their current contracts.
Although terms of the pact were not disclosed, Vergara, Ferguson, Stonestreet, Bowen and Burrell were seeking raises from their current salary of about $65,000 to a payday of $200,000 per episode next season, with significant annual increases in return for agreeing to extend their contracts. The studio had initially offered them $150,000 per episode next season along with annual increases.
People close to the situation said the final figure for next season for Vergara, Ferguson, Stonestreet, Bowen and Burrell will be in the neighborhood of $160,000 per episode. Also, each will get a bonus that will bring the average pay to more than $175,000. The cast agreed to extend their deals by one more season to eight total, and in that last season their salaries would top $300,000 per episode.
However, the cast also is expected to receive a small piece of the profits the show is expected to generate in reruns. The standard amount offered to cast members is usually one-quarter of 1%. That part of the deal has not been finalized yet, a person with knowledge of the talks said.
O’Neill, an established TV star before the debut of “Modern Family” in 2009, was already making north of $100,000 per episode but was also seeking a raise and joined the suit as a show of solidarity with the rest of the cast. He, too, will receive a slight raise.
With the deals done, the suit is going to be withdrawn. The suit, filed in California Superior Court, alleged that the employment agreements violate California law prohibiting deals that run longer than seven years. This tactic is often used in trying to renegotiate pacts. In the case of the “Modern Family” cast, their contracts are up at the end of June 2016, but all were signed before June 2009.
The cast timed their push for more money to coincide with the start of production on season four, which put pressure on 20th Century Fox Television to come to terms. Now the studio will seek to recoup some of its new expenses from ABC.
Although salary negotiations while actors are still under contract are common, particularly after a show has become a success and has been sold into syndication, as is the case with “Modern Family,” it is rare that lawsuits are filed, and that element made this situation particularly tense.
“Modern Family” co-creator Steve Levitan said he thought any bad blood between the cast and the studio would “blow over” and added that he wished the matter had not gone public, which he attributed to some of the agents and lawyers involved in the talks.
“It’s the job of some people to stir this up,” he said.
However, he has no ill feelings toward the cast.
“They’re a huge part of the success of ‘Modern Family,’ and I’m happy they’re going to get what they deserve,” he said.
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