Salary contracts can always be a tricky business in Hollywood, but it's something the cast of Modern Family is about to face as the series looks ahead to its fourth season.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, representatives are seeking to negotiate higher pay rates for the series' six adult cast members, requesting they receive a significant salary bump for their many contributions to the multiple Emmy-award-winning show.
And for such a dynamic cast, their salaries are surprisingly low. Sources report that Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara were all paid in the $65,000-an-episode range for the 22-episode arch during the third season — a fee that was bumped up from the first two seasons in Summer 2011.
Of course, that's still a serious chunk of change, but compared to Ed O'Neill's $105,000 range per episode, their compensation pales in comparison. So now that the ABC sitcom has proven its worth with continual Emmy sweeps, sources predict the cast could ask for a jump to the $200,000-an-episode range for the new season, which would be right on par with the three stars of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory after they re-upped their show’s third season in 2010.
But there are far fewer wallets to feed on BBT compared to Modern Family's rather expansive cast, so 20th Television may not be so inclined to bend to their demands — at least not at first. “It’s going to get ugly,” says a source close to the deal-making.
However, it's important for contract negotiators to realize just how much this series brings to ABC's table. The show regularly draws over 13 million viewers, up 12 percent from 2011. Even more impressive: Modern Family has become TV’s number one scripted series among younger viewers and is the highest-rated comedy since Friends and Will & Grace.
That's a huge for a contemporary sitcom. And given the fact that all six cast members on Friends were each making $100,000 after the second season (not to mention an impressive $1 million-per-episode by their tenth season), we'd say a bit of a salary bump is in order for these actors.
But the question still remains if the Modern Family cast will follow in Friends' wise footsteps and stick together in negotiations, so they all earn the same increase. So far, O’Neill has declined to join his co-stars, however, a source claims strategy talks are just beginning and negotiations will most likely stretch into the summer. So, for now, only time will tell.
At the moment, reps for both 20th and the actors have declined to comment on the situation.