To keep "Modern Family" on the air, with all of its Emmy nominations and wins. it's going to cost ABC a little more upfront to keep everyone happy.
The primary stars of the hit comedy have reached new deals with 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the series, avoiding a lawsuit intended to dump what was said to be contracts lasting more than seven years.
The pay raise for Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are said to be quite steep. The actors were reportedly earning about $65,000 per episode. That, however, will jump to $175,000 per episode in the fourth season, and could get as high as $350,000 if the show reaches an eighth season.
That could shorten the life of "Modern Family," however, unless it remains a top 15 hit. A pricetag that high means payouts of nearly $3 million per episode for just part of the cast, and could make continuing the series too far beyond Season 6 unprofitable. It doesn't help that "Modern Family" is not an internal production for ABC, which means the network will not see any future profits from DVD sales and other streaming releases.
But the actors will. Part of their deal, according to The Hollywood Reporter, will give them a piece of future revenue, including syndication sales and other post-broadcast distribution.
While filming was expected to resume Monday as normal, executive producer Christopher Lloyd assured the trade publications that even if a lawsuit was filed, production would have continued as expected.
The new deal is now an eight-season deal as compared to a seven-season deal previously, however, that does not guarantee that the show will stay on the air that long. The younger actors in the show -- Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould and Ariel Winter -- will likely negotiate new contracts as well, although their payouts will likely be more in the $50,000 per episode range.
Sarah Hyland, who plays Haley in the series, is 21 now, and already has a deal that is different from her younger co-stars, although she also is not making anywhere near the money as the adults in the series. Although star Ed O'Neill joined his co-stars in their contract dispute, he also has a salary that is at a different level than anyone else.
"Modern Family" was nominated for 31 Emmys in its first two seasons, winning 10 of them, including Outstanding Comedy Series for two years in a row, and wins for actors Burrell, Bowen and Stonestreet. It was recently nominated for 14 more Emmys, which will be handed out in September.
"Modern Family" was television's 14th-ranked show, and was No. 3 overall at ABC. It grew its audience by more than 7 percent from its second season, one of only four shows on the network to expand its audience.
The fourth season premieres Sept. 26 on ABC.
About the Author