“West Wing” actors revolt

You’d think the cast of The West Wing would rejoice after Thursday’s Emmy nominations presentation–as the show was given the best drama nod, yet again.

Instead, actors Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and John Spencer have surprisingly entered into intense contract negotiations with Warner Bros. and John Wells Productions to have their salaries pushed up to the level of costars Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe, Variety reports.

“This is not a typical negotiation, in that they are not asking for raises because the show has become a hit,” said Peter Nelson, the attorney for all four actors. “What they are asking is merely for Warner Bros. to make good on what it promised when they made their original deals.”

The actors were told when they joined the show that no one would earn more than $40,000 per episode because of the show’s high budget and the uncertainty that its political content would make it a ratings hit, Nelson said.

The salaries for the four actors reportedly range from $30,000 per episode to slightly higher.

Lowe reportedly earns $70,000 per episode, while Sheen earns six-figures.

The four actors and Warner Bros. seems some distance apart from an agreement.

The actors each want $90,000 per episode, increasing to $200,000 per episode by the show’s seventh season.

Warner Bros. has offered to pay each of the four actors a reported $65,000 per episode, with a raise of $10,000 per season, in exchange for them to sign onto the show for another two years through an eighth season.

Warner Bros. will sue for breach of contract should the actors stage a walkout.

“We don’t begin filming until Monday and I’m sure it will all be taken care of,” West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin told The Associated Press on Thursday. “Everybody’s happy to get back to work” to start on the White House-set political drama’s third season.

The West Wing received 18 Emmy nominations Thursday, with Janney, Schiff, Whitford and Spencer all receiving nominations. Janney and Schiff have already won Emmys for their roles.

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