“Modern Family” contract dispute resolved, stars head back to work

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

In a previous post, we told Miami readers about how six of the stars of “Modern Family,” the top-rated comedy on television, had sued the company that produces the show over an allegedly unenforceable contract.

Now, it seems that the actors have resolved their contract dispute and are heading back to work.

For the upcoming 22-epsisode season, “Modern Family’s” fourth, the adult stars will be paid about $170,000 per episode. They had been asking for $200,000, but even the salary they have reportedly agreed to is quite a raise over their current $65,000-per-episode paycheck.

The actors had sued 20th Century Fox, which produces the ABC-aired sitcom, alleging that their contact was unenforceable because it was for services (i.e. acting) and lasted for longer than seven years, which is not allowed in California. Some say this is not an uncommon move when actors agree to a show when its future is uncertain and that show later becomes a hit.

Although it seems everything is settled now, the stars canceled a script-reading and caused many fans to worry that the fourth season would not be filmed. It’s also fair to presume they ruffled a few important feathers at ABC and 20th Century Fox. Contract negotiations are tough, but it is helpful if you do not have to resort to such drastic measures. If you work with an attorney who has experience helping entertainers negotiate favorable contracts, you might not have to pull out all the stops like this. We often help clients who have become involved in contract disputes. One good way to learn more about what we do would be to pay a visit to our contract disputes page.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “‘Modern Family’ Cast Reaches Deal to end Salary Standoff,” Matthew Belloni, July 27, 2012