Stars up ante at 'Nip/Tuck'

Some cast members reportedly seeking to double salaries

Production begins Monday on the sixth and final season of FX's "Nip/Tuck." As the show's actors get back to work, behind the scenes their representatives are deep in salary renegotiations.

Talks for stars Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh and regulars Joely Richardson, Kelly Carlson and Roma Maffia have been ongoing for weeks.

Heading into production on Season 5 in summer 2007, McMahon and Walsh saw their compensation upped to about $125,000 an episode, with Richardson close behind at about $100,000.

This year, McMahon and Walsh reportedly are seeking to double their salaries, and the other cast members also are seeking substantial raises.

Because all of the show's actors are under contract with "Nip/Tuck" producer Warner Bros. TV, talks have been held primarily with FX, which funded last year's cast paycheck bumps in the form of cash bonuses. A similar arrangement is expected this year, but the sides remain apart on money terms -- though an agreement could be reached this week.

To help with negotiations, McMahon and Walsh have added to their legal team seasoned litigator Marty Singer, who repped "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini in his 2003 renegotiations-related lawsuit against HBO and also repped the supporting "Sopranos" players in their pursuit of paycheck increases for the show's final episodes.

A main argument for the "Nip/Tuck" stars is that while they will be available for other jobs, with the show slated to end its run in 2011, other networks might be reluctant to cast them in new roles while their "Nip/Tuck" characters still appear on FX.

As for today, despite the fact that McMahon did not show up for wardrobe last week, all of the show's actors are expected to return to work.

Reps for McMahon (WMA, Will Ward, Jake Bloom) and Walsh (Gersh, Bob McGowan, Rick Genow) declined comment.