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Modern Family - Cast negotiating for higher pay

Hollywood is gearing up for what could be one of the toughest — and highest-stakes — TV contract renegotiations in years.

With third-season production on ABC’s top-rated and Emmy-winning comedy Modern Family ending in early March, representatives for the series’ six adult castmembers have begun formulating a plan to negotiate significantly higher salaries with producer 20th Television, according to multiple sources.

Castmembers Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara were paid in the $65,000-an-episode range for the 22-episode third season, according to sources, a fee that was bumped up from the first two seasons last summer. (Stonestreet was making merely $20,000 an episode or so for the first season, when he won an Emmy, one of 11 wins for the series.) Ed O’Neill, who came to Modern Family after success on Married … With Children and other series, makes in the $105,000 range per episode, plus a small backend he receives for agreeing to cut his quote to join the series in 2009. (O’Neill was considered the “get” when Modern Family was casting, taking on the patriarch role when Craig T. Nelson passed.)

Now the series is heading into its all-important fourth season, when casts often renegotiate their contracts, scoring big paydays in exchange for agreeing to extend original seven-year deals by an additional year or two so the studio can generate bigger syndication revenue. One source suggested the cast could ask for a jump to the $200,000-an-episode range for season four, which would be on par with the three stars of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory when they re-upped after their show’s third season in 2010. Reps will seek additional boosts of $50,000 to $100,000 for subsequent seasons, but 20th is likely to resist opening the vault for a cast with twice as many leads as the Big Bang trio.

“It’s going to get ugly,” says a source close to the dealmaking.

Read more at Hollywood Reporter.

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