Hit Sitcom Cancels Table Read as Stalled Contract Talks Begin to Take a Toll Deadline
One of the most popular comedy series on TV is struggling to get its cast signed to contracts for the upcoming season. Deadline.com reports that ABC’s “Modern Family” made a last-minute decision to cancel a table read that was scheduled for today, with the decision apparently linked to the contract impasse.
“The move comes as there was speculation that multiple cast members of the show wouldn’t show up for the read as the cast of the Emmy-winning comedy is in difficult salary negotiations with series producer 20th Century Fox TV,” the story reports. “The two sides have not been able to agree on a salary increase for the six adult stars of ‘Modern Family,’ who are largely negotiating together.”
The report notes that cast members cut back on their promotional appearances after upfronts, which is seen as standard procedure with salary talks under way. However, it’s unusual for the action to go as far as disrupting a show’s production schedule.
“The move resembles the strategy employed by the ‘Friends’ cast, who in the summer of 1996 threatened to boycott production of Season 3 of the hit NBC show unless they received salary increases to $100,000 each per episode,” Deadline reports. “It worked, and the sextet got what they wanted. (Their paychecks eventually rose to $1 million an episode apiece.)”
The report notes that similar situations have affected “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Malcolm in the Middle” in past years. “In contrast, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ cast kept working on the show as scheduled last summer while representatives secured big salary increases for the three stars,” the piece adds.
“Modern Family‘s” Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara have reportedly been earning more than $60,000 an episode, with Ed O’Neill closer to $100,000 -- along with a piece of the backend.
The story reports: “Word is the cast have been looking for ‘Big Bang’-size paychecks (the three stars of the CBS/Warner Bros. TV show, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco, landed $200,000 an episode for Season 5 and built-in big increases for the following seasons). At one point it looked like the two sides could settle in the $150,000-an-episode range, but that has not happened, and there is an impasse in trying to close the money gap — which sources say is not that big.”