Yesterday, we reported that the adult cast of Modern Family were negotiating their new contracts, asking to be paid $200,000 an episode. Now, it seems, the situation has gotten worse. The cast is suing 20th Century Fox Television, the studio behind the show, one of the highest-rated sitcoms today.
Instead of arriving today for the show’s first table read of season four, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts, according to the Hollywood Reporter, who notes, “The legal theory, according to sources who have seen the lawsuit, is that their deals violate California’s “7 Year Rule,” which prohibits personal services contracts for longer than 7 years. This tactic is a common one for actors who seek to void contracts during renegotiations for increased compensation.”
Ed O’Neill has also joined the lawsuit, as a sign of support, the Reporter says. The veteran actor already has a higher salary than the aforementioned cast members.
Now, $200,000 an episode seems like a lot. But let’s consider a few things: The Friends cast was getting $750,000 by their sixth season and by 1997, the Seinfeld cast was getting $600,000 an episode. That’s not to say Modern Family will end up as iconic as those two shows, but its on the way. And I’m not suggesting they deserve Friends and Seinfeld money (yet!). The last thing to consider is that by May, Modern Family was the highest rated sitcom in 2012, only beaten by reality shows American Idol and The Voice and Sunday Night Football on NBC.
So, do you think they deserve the raise?