'Modern Family' Kid Actors Now Seeking Salary Raises

The Kids are the Future
Kevin Parry

Addressing the future of the show, showrunner Steve Levitan said he'd like the series to continue on for "as long as it's good." "We'd like to go out strong and not limp out," he noted, with many of the adult cast members praising the show's young stars with Burrell confessing that the kids are often more prepared than their adult colleagues. On the red carpet before the session, Burrell told The Hollywood Reporter that Phil and his on-screen son Luke are "cut from the same coin." "I think the kids are going to end up being the focal point of the show," he said. "They're getting written to more and more. As time goes on, if the show lasts, they'll actually be the center of the show and we'll be supporting them, as it should be."

With the adult cast having scored big increases, sources tell THR that the four main young stars are set to begin their own contract renegotiations

But what about Manny?

That question was raised often as the six adult stars of ABC's top-rated comedy Modern Family held out for big salary increases announced Friday night. Now the attention is shifting to the show's younger actors, who share equal chunks of screen time with their adult co-stars but are paid a fraction of their counterparts. 

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Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the four main young stars are set to begin next week their own contract renegotiations with studio 20th Century Fox Television. These talks are not expected to be as contentious as the just-concluded adult negotiations (which led to a lawsuit and a boycotted table read), and the kids are expected to show up to work next week as production on the Emmy-winning show's fourth season begins on the Fox lot. But sources say the reps for the child actors, who have waited in the wings until the adults made their deals, will now be seeking big raises for their clients in exchange for adding an eighth season to their seven-season contracts.

In fact, sources say that reps for at least three of the child stars — Rico Rodriguez, 13, who plays Sofia Vergara's scene-stealing son Manny; Nolan Gould,13, who plays Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell's dim-witted son Luke; and Ariel Winter, 14, who plays middle daughter Alex — have had conversations about banding together in a manner similar to the adult negotiations, meaning they could go to 20th TV as a group with uniform salary demands. (A source at 20th suggests the studio considers the three kids equals anyways, meaning they likely will be able to negotiate the same pay increases regardless of whether they take a unified approach.)

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Sarah Hyland, 21, who plays the Dunphys' college-bound daughter Haley, also will renegotiate her contract, but she is in a different place than her colleagues. She came to Modern Family after a string of film and TV credits including Lipstick Jungle and One Life to Live, so she is said to already make more than her younger co-stars.

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, 5, who joined the show last season as Lily, the adopted daughter of Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, plays a smaller role and is not likely to receive a big raise.

Unlike with their adult co-stars, who were known to be earning about $65,000 per episode for the most recent third season, it's not clear what the younger actors currently make. For instance, sources in the representation community say that a 10 year-old actor on a first-year network series likely earns between $10,000 and $12,000 per episode (Rodriguez and Gould were both around 10 when the show launched). But after the first season, the kids likely received small salary bumps, and it's unclear if they renegotiated previously.

As with their adult counterparts, many different representatives are involved in these discussions, making a consensus on the strategy difficult to achieve. And one thing is certain: the younger cast will not be able to score the huge paydays of their adult co-stars. Those new deals provide for about $175,000 per episode for the fourth season, rising to about $350,000 per episode in the eighth season. And the adult cast scored a small slice of back-end revenue, which for such a mega-grossing show as Modern Family, could be significant in the long run. 

A rep for 20th TV declined to comment. Reps for the actors also declined to comment.

Email: Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

Twitter: @THRMattBelloni