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'Sopranos' Cast Demand Pay Rise

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Mar 21, 2006 | 7:54am EST

Cast members of hit mafia series The Sopranos are demanding higher salaries after the show's bosses extended the period over which they will broadcast the final 20 episodes.

Stars including Michael Imperioli, who plays Tony Soprano's hotheaded nephew Christopher, and Lorraine Bracco, who plays Tony's shrink, Dr Melfi, are having their pay renegotiated after insisting that splitting the series is equivalent to two season's work rather than one, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, bosses at HBO disagree, claiming that all 20 episodes are still part of the same season and do not warrant double pay.

Sopranos Godfather James Gandolfini has already successfully renegotiated himself a $1 million deal for each of the final eight shows, and more minor characters hope to follow suit.

Despite the confusion, a spokesman for HBO is adamant cast members will not stage a walkout: "We're confident that everyone will be signed for the last eight episodes."

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