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UPDATE: The Modern Family cast has sued 20th TV. Full story here.
The Modern Family salary renegotiation is getting ugly.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the ensemble cast has rejected a Monday offer from producer 20th Century Fox Television, putting a stop to today’s scheduled table read that would have marked the start of the show’s fourth season.
Sources say the salary offer was as follows: $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.
The six adult cast members of the hit ABC comedy have been at odds with 20th TV over money for most of the season 3 summer hiatus, which is typically when actors on hit shows renegotiate their contracts to get big salary increases in exchange for agreeing to stay with their shows beyond the seven years of their original deals. In this case, 20th TV and ABC would like the cast to agree to an 8th and 9th season, and the cast believes they should be paid handsomely for that extension, especially given the rich syndication deals that Modern Family has scored.
Adding to the drama, cast members Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara are negotiating together. (Ed O’Neill, who came to Modern Family as a big television star, is also at an impass with 20th over money but already makes considerably more than his co-stars.)
With the exception of O’Neill (Married… with Children), the actors were paid in the $65,000-an-episode range for the show’s 22-episode third season, according to sources. O’Neill is believed to have made in the $105,000 range this past year.
The series is a profit center for both the studio and the network, regularly drawing 13.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen. In 2011, Modern Family generated $164 million in advertising revenue for ABC, up 40 percent from a year earlier, reports Kantar Media. What’s more, the multiple Emmy-winning series has proved an American Idol-style launching pad for the network’s other comedies, including Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and the upcoming alien effort The Neighbors.
Coming out of its breakout freshman season in 2010, 20th TV inked a rich syndication deal with USA –the NBCUniversal-owned cable network’s first major comedy acquisition—for a license fee close to $1.5 million an episode, say sources. That’s roughly on par with the deal Turner’s TBS struck with Warner Bros. TV for repeats of The Big Bang Theory. Modern Family is poised to reap many more millions from broadcast stations when the series rolls out in syndication in 2013, and foreign revenue is said to be particularly robust.