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ABC’s Modern Family is not going anywhere.
The 10 stars of the five-time Emmy-winning family series have inked new rich contracts to return to the network’s top comedy, which has been renewed for a ninth and 10th season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. It’s unclear if season 10 of the Emmy darling will be its last. The renewal is for 44 total episodes, 22 per season.
“We are beyond thrilled that we get to spend more time with these characters, these amazing actors, our ridiculously talented writers and our incredible crew — all of whom are like family to us. And the good kind of family, not the kind that argues with you all the time,” co-creator/co-showrunner Steve Levitan said Wednesday in a statement.
Sources say each star has scored a raise to remain with the comedy from showrunners Levitan and Christopher Lloyd and producers 20th Century Fox Television. Securing raises are the six primary stars — Sofia Vergara (Gloria), Julie Bowen (Claire), Ty Burrell (Phil), Eric Stonestreet (Cameron), Jessie Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) and Ed O’Neill (Jay) — as well as younger castmembers Rico Rodriguez (Manny), Nolan Gould (Luke), Sarah Hyland (Haley) and Ariel Winter (Alex).
“Modern Family has been the centerpiece of our comedy brand for eight seasons and we are thrilled to have it on our schedule for two more years,” said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. “Steve and Chris have created such endearing characters, and the cast is second-to-none.”
The delay in the renewal came after a fight between 20th TV and ABC over the cost of the long-running series as the network typically fronts most of the production costs for a show this far into its run. While the renewal keeps the series on for two more seasons, it’s unclear if that will be the show’s swan song. Co-creator and co-showrunner Levitan told The Hollywood Reporter recently that he would like to see the show go 10 seasons.
“I’d like it to go 10 seasons. It seems like a nice, round number. But most importantly, I’d like to end strong. If that means ending it after nine, that’s OK. If it means ending it after 10, even better,” said Levitan.
Season eight of the comedy, which wrapped production in February without new deals for the stars, saw the cast making roughly $350,000 per episode as well as a portion of the show’s profits. The stars are said to have landed significant raises — though their take-home remains far less than the cast of TV’s No. 1 comedy, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. (The original stars of the Chuck Lorre comedy each get Friends-level $1 million per episode, though they recently took $100,000 per-episode cuts to help co-stars receive healthy raises. The CBS comedy from Warner Bros. Television earned a two-season renewal that will take it through what is expected to be its 12th and final run.)
“We have been blessed since day one on Modern Family, and having the opportunity to spend two more years with these characters — and the brilliant actors behind them — is is the latest, and best, in a series of gaudy gifts,” said Lloyd. “There is so much more to explore in the lives of this family, and so many pressing needs in the lives of our own actual families to go on ignoring, that this timing could not have worked out any better. Truly, it’s a humbling experience. Ty Burrell has already pointed out that Alexander the Great’s entire reign only lasted eight and a half years (326-317 B.C.), so yes, everyone is deeply humbled by this.”
The latest round of renegotiations came after a contentious round of talks in summer 2012 that saw the cast get points on the show’s lucrative backend and raises for each subsequent season.
Modern Family remains a key property for both 20th TV and ABC. While its returns are down year-over-year, it still ranks as ABC’s top comedy and primetime’s No. 2 half-hour behind only Big Bang Theory. Season eight is averaging a 3.8 rating among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and 11 million viewers. (It’s the No. 4 scripted series on broadcast in the demo.) The series, which tied an Emmy record with its fifth straight best comedy series win, also commands top dollar for advertisers, with 30-second spots said to have been raking in more than $200,000 this season. For producers 20th TV, the franchise remains a billion-dollar property thanks in large part to a rich syndication deal with outlets including USA Network.
“Modern Family remains one of the studio’s most prized assets and we are enormously grateful to ABC for this two-year pickup,” said 20th TV presidents Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman. “Steve and Chris are genius producers who created nothing less than a television classic, and they would be the first to tell you that their cast and crew are the best there is. We feel incredibly proud to be the studio supporting them and look forward to many more hilarious episodes.”
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