Shocking news came across the wires yesterday when it was announced that the cast of ABC's smash hit Modern Family is suing their production company, 20th Century Fox TV, to get out of their current contracts. What to make of this potential mess-in-the-making that could seriously set back Season 4? Read on to find out!
It's About The Green
Of course, disputes of this sort are almost always about one thing: compensation. And all of the program's main adult cast thinks they deserve more. The issues began when Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet all decided to sue Fox TV to void their current contracts, arguing that those contracts violate California labor codes. The actors were all negotiating in order to secure new contracts, which would have run through a ninth season of the program. Ed O'Neill wasn't originally involved in all this, but after his co-stars decided to sue, he decided to join in out of solidarity. O'Neill makes more than his co-stars, reportedly, and he was the only member of the cast to report to the first table reading for Season 4 of the show, which was scheduled for today.
So, How Much Green?
We're not exactly talking about chump change here. The original five cast members suing were making a reported $65,000 an episode for Season 3, while O'Neill was pulling in $105,000 per. The original five were offered $150k an episode (plus a $50k bonus for each episode) by Fox TV, but they shot the offer down, as it didn't quite match with theirs. One can assume that O'Neill's contract is okay with him, but he wants to support his fellow actors. The offer the cast rejected may seem like a generous one, but when one considers that the leads on CBS hit The Big Bang Theory make $200k per episode -- with big bumps built in for each new season -- you can begin to see how the Modern Family cast might have a bit of compensation envy.
Are They Worth It?
Modern Family, like any hit TV show, is an enormous revenue generator for ABC and Fox TV, and that's not even taking into account the oodles of money that come with syndication deals and DVD sales that will be racking up long after the show is finished. On top of that big pile of dough, every single main adult cast member got Emmy nominations. Dough and prestige? It's hard to top that in an industry where tons of awful television programs get thrown into the scrap heap after a couple of episodes. Are they worth it? In a word, yes.