'Modern Family' Cast Sues 20th TV as Contract Renegotiation Turns Ugly (Exclusive)
UPDATED: Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that cast members Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara have filed suit today in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that cast members Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara are filing suit today in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts. 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.
The six adult cast members currently have contracts through the seventh season of the show. But as THR previously reported, renegotiations are common between the third and fourth seasons, when casts of hit shows typically get bigger paychecks in exchange for agreeing to continue with the show beyond the seventh season. Sources tell THR the five cast members are being offered salary increases as follows: $150,000 per episode plus a $50,000 per episode bonus for season 4; $200,000 per episode for season 5; $225,000 for season 6; and up to $325,000 for an anticipated season 9. The cast is asking for much more, including more than double the offered salary if the show goes 8 or 9 seasons, as expected.
A rep for 20th TV declined to comment.
With the exception of O’Neill (Married… with Children), the actors were paid in the $65,000-an-episode range for the show’s 22-episode third season, according to sources. O’Neill is believed to have made in the $105,000 range this past year.