The cast of "Modern Family" has been negotiating for a significant pay raise for the past few months . . . and things are NOT going well. Now, they're playing hardball.
--Yesterday, five of the adult stars . . . Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara . . . filed a lawsuit, asking to have their contracts voided.
--Those contracts have them locked in for four more seasons . . . but they want those scrapped in favor of more lucrative deals. Production on Season Four was supposed to begin yesterday, but the cast didn't show up, so it was canceled.
--ED O'NEILL has a higher pay scale than the other adult stars because he was the biggest "name" coming into the show. But in an act of solidarity, he's joined them in their holdout. Of course, he wants more money, too.
--The fact that the cast is acting together puts a lot of pressure on ABC and the production company, because without all of them, there is no show. The cast of "Friends" used this tactic successfully back in the '90s to score huge deals.
--Neither ABC nor the cast has commented on the negotiations.
--If you're interested in the specifics, here's the breakdown:
--The six main cast members started out making between $20,000 and $60,000 per episode, with Ed on the higher end. They were given a complimentary raise this past season that bumped their salaries up to between $60,000 and $105,000 per episode.
--According to the "Hollywood Reporter", the cast rejected the studio's latest offer, which was $200,000 per episode for Seasons Four and Five . . . $225,000 for Season Six . . . and escalating raises up to $325,000 per episode through Season Nine.
(--Again, this is for the five adult cast members NOT named Ed O'Neill. His negotiations have been separate . . . but he isn't getting what he wants either.)
--Obviously, that seems like a lot, but the show generates a ton of coin.
--"Modern Family" brought in $164 million in ad revenue for ABC last season, and repeats of the show were licensed to the USA Network for $1.5 million per episode.
--There have been 72 episodes so far . . . so that would put the syndication deal at around $110 million already.
(--For comparison, if the main cast got an average of $250,000 per episode, that would be $6 million apiece per season . . . and $36 million for all six.)