The salary dispute between “Modern Family” cast and 20th Century Fox Television has turned uglier. After rejecting the offer made by the producer, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell have filed a lawsuit against the company.
According to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the five actors claim Fox violates the “7-Year Rule” under California Labor Code section 2855 (a). The lawsuit says, “That provision dictates that contracts to render personal service may not be enforced beyond seven years from the commencement of service under it.”
Ed O’Neill, who was the only adult actor not taking part in the initial filing, has reportedly decided to join his co-stars in the lawsuit. The Jay Pritchett depicter is negotiating his contract separately and has been paid more than other cast members, but he is said to have joined the suit out of solidarity.
Vergara, Ferguson, Stonestreet, Bowen and Burrell, who allegedly made $65,000 an episode in the third season, were offered $150,000 per episode plus a $50,000 per episode bonus for season 4, $200,000 per episode for season 5, $225,000 for season 6, and up to $325,000 for an anticipated season 9, sources said. However, they reportedly want bigger paychecks, believing the show has been a money machine for ABC.
Due to the contract dispute, a table read which was scheduled for Tuesday at 11:30 A.M. was canceled at the last minute. An insider said O’Neill was the only adult actor who showed up for the script session.
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