General News

"West Wing" costars report to work

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Jul 19, 2001 | 2:09pm EDT

The West Wing costars Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and John Spencer reported to work Monday, despite hints by their lawyer that they would skip the first day of production on the NBC's hit political drama unless their salary demands are met, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The four leading cast members looked like they were heading for a showdown Monday with Warner Bros. producers over how much they are paid.

"What they are asking is merely for Warner Bros. to make good on what it promised when they made their original deals," attorney Peter Nelson told Variety last week. "The best way to put it is, the actors are fully prepared to meet their work obligations Monday, assuming Warner meets its obligation to them."

Warner Bros. would haved considerd the actors to be in breach of contract if they had failed to show up Monday.

Contract negotiations are continuing.

The actors are seeking about $90,000 per episode, with their salaries increasing to about $200,000 per segment by the seventh season, but they are reluctant to commit to an eighth season, the trade paper said.

The four missed a costume fitting last week and failed to show up for an initial table reading of the script for the season premiere, Variety reported. Executive producer Aaron Sorkin was forced to proceed with star Martin Sheen and other cast members without the missing actors.

All four costars received Emmy nominations Thursday for their work on the show last season. Janney and Schiff won a Emmys last year for their roles in the series.

The hit series, which stars Sheen as fictional U.S. President Josiah Bartlett, won nine Emmys for its first season and claimed nominations for 18 more on Thursday. The show begins its third season in the fall.

In other West Wing news, NBC has announced that Stockard Channing will become a series regular. Channing, who has played the first lady on a recurring basis, is nominated for an Emmy in the category of supporting actress.

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