'Modern Family' Season 4 Production Delayed Amid Salary Negotiations, Lawsuit

Modern FamilyModern Family cast courtesy of ABC

20th Century Fox Television has some “Family” matters to deal with.The producers of ABC’s hit comedy “Modern Family” are in tough contract negotiations with the cast, and now production on season four is being delayed, as cast members skipped the first table read today.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and Sofia Vergara have filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts. 

Notably absent from is the sixth main adult cast member, Ed O’Neill, who THR says makes more than his co-stars and is negotiating separately, though sources are saying he has joined the lawsuit out of solidarity to his castmates. O’Neill was the biggest name in the cart due to his run on the hit sitcom “Married… With Children.”

The news comes less than a week after all six adult cast members received Emmy nominations (bringing the group’s total nominations in the show’s first three seasons to an incredible 17, with only O’Neill missing out for season 1). Burrell and Bowen took home awards last year, and Stonestreet won for season 1. Vergara was recently named Forbes’ best paid actress on television.

Though the cast members all have contracts through the seventh season, it’s common to renegotiate between the third and fourth seasons. THR explains the cast members are claiming their current contracts violate California’s “Seven Year Rule” which prevents service contracts longer than seven years, a common legal strategy in these situations. 

THR says the five cast members currently filing suit were offered salary increases of “$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. 

For the 22-episode season 3, the five adult cast members made roughly $65,000 an episode (O’Neill made closer to $105,000).

The series also begins a lucrative syndication deal with USA in 2013, which paid close to $1.5 million per episode. The show is poised to make even more from foreign revenue and broadcast stations as well.

SEE ALSO: The 2012 Primetime Emmy nominations > 

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