The "Modern Family" that sues together stays together.
Star Ed O'Neill has joined his fellow castmates Sofia Vergara; Ty Burrell; Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Eric Stonestreet; and Julie Bowen in filing a complaint against the ABC show's production company, 20th Century Fox Television.
In the complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, the aforementioned actors allege that "Modern Family's" critical and financial success has been "built on a collection of illegal contracts."
The complaint alleges that the contracts established violate a California law referred to in the document as the "Seven-Year Rule," which stipulates that an employer can't contract personal services for more than seven years "without the right to change employers or occupations."
The cast members mentioned above claim that their contracts with 20th Century Fox TV are personal service contracts that bind them to work on "Modern Family" for more than that time frame.
The Hollywood Reporter noted Tuesday that the legal move is a common one for actors who want to void contracts while negotiating for more pay.
THR adds that five of the six - Vergara, Bowen, Tyler Ferguson, Stonestreet and Burrell - were the original cast members behind the complaint, with former "Married ... With Children" actor O'Neill negotiating separately as he's being compensated at a different level than the rest. According to the Hollywood Reporter, O'Neill received somewhere in the neighborhood of $105,000 an episode in the third season, while the other five received something around $65,000 an episode.
However, in a perceived show of solidarity, O'Neill has joined the rest of his cast members in their complaint against 20th Century Fox TV, and an amended document reflecting O'Neill's move was filed on Wednesday.
It's rumored that the production company has offered contracts that would pay out $150,000 an episode for the fourth season, and increasing from there to about $325,000 an episode for an expected ninth season. However, THR reports that the cast is said to be seeking higher pay, particularly for seasons that are further out.
The cast is not commenting on the matter, but the good news is they're not letting it affect their work (well, too much). It was said that a Tuesday table read was scrapped because of salary negotiations, but CNN's confirmed that everyone was present at a table read Thursday morning.
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Help us save the jobs of 5 people
You know why they make $65,000 per episode? Because people like you watch the show. We would all do the same thing if we were in their situation.
As is typical in these kinds of reports, the "average Joe" in America finds this "outrageous" because the actors in question are already making a ton of money. HOWEVER, do you have any idea how much ABC (which is owned by Disney) makes off the show? Well into the hundreds of millions (and probably approaching a billion when you add in merchandising, DVDs, etc.). Imagine if you worked for a company and made $100,000 a year, but the company you worked for was making millions off your image and likeness and you might have an idea why the actors are suing.
Maybe, but what about all the people who work on the show who aren't actors, that just get normal, middle-class salaries like you and me!
Fire the lot of them and give raises to "the Middle" cast, their show is much funnier anyhow.
Incredible isn't it minions ? If most of us could work just ONE episode on this show, our financial problems would be over :-/
This show was another example of the "powers that be" pushing the gay agenda on television. I'll be glad when the show has finished it's run, but the damage to the American public has already been done.
What "damage" is this you speak of? A show that portrays a gay couple in a positive light and one that espews positive family values can exist in couples of all shapes and types? If thats what you consider damage, then i'd say our current worldview could use a wrecking ball.
Love this show, but after reading this I doubt I'll ever watch it again. Many of these people were nobody's before this show and gladly signed these contracts in the hope that maybe, just maybe they'll become famous. Well now that they have the fame, they want a do over. Screw them.
I totally agree with you.....screw them. I will never watch that show again. Make a deal and when it suits you, just change the rules......that says a lot about these actress/actors personalities.
Yep Frank – sounds just like our overpaid athletes; they're fine with the contract they signed as long as their performance is mediocre or bad, but let them have a good season or two and all agreements are off.
Modern Family isn't good enough to pay any of its actors $65,000 PER EPISODE! Are you kidding me? I will never watch that show again knowing that the greedy actors who create it make that much money per episode, BUT WANT MORE! You folks don't deserve to be paid like that for what you do/don't do!
$65,000 and episode is a low salary compared to what most actors made. I mean Charlie Sheen was making $1,000,000 an episode to make Two and a Half Men (which, imo, wasn't even a good show!)
I work on TV sets, and have for a while. Let me tell you what the network will never say, no matter how big and successful the show gets: "We just want to thank the cast and crew for creating a great hit show, and to show you how much we appreciate you're hard work and long hours you've put in to make us all this money, we are going to voluntarily give you all a raise."
It doesn't happen. If anything the network cuts expenses and costs each season to try and make it more profitable, often at the expense of the cast and crew who make the show great.
Say what you want, but the 7 year contract for actors is an example of large companies taking advantage of individuals. Most shows never go seven seasons, so if the TV show is a huge hit, the actors and writers will get compensated the same as any other new show starting its first season that year. A three or four year contract would be more fair, as by the fourth and fifth season the studio has more than made its money back on investment and can start giving more to those who keep the money machine going.
Also, there have been some tv actors who made millions, but gave back too. A friend working on Everyone Loves Raymond told me when the show wrapped, anyone working there for more than two years as a crew member was given as a gift from the cast a year salary, taxes paid, as a thank you. Then they all flew to Rays house on some island and partied for two weeks all on his dime. And remember John Stewart paid his crew out of pocket during the writers strike while production halted. These are a few examples, but its not about pure greed.
And risk isn't everything, sure the studio puts up the money, and without that the actors and writers couldn't make their show, but without talented writers actors and crew, the risk is worthless. It's a symbiotic relationship, and I don't think the actors are wrong to be fairly compensated proportionally to the shows' profits. Hopefully if they win the case they will remember those who make them look good on screen too, the production and pre-rig crews.
Hey Joey – my dad was a TV repairman too!
Another season like the last one and no one will care. What happened to the writing? Season one was awesome. Now it's barely funny.
I hope the network closes production and forces them to find other jobs. Greedy. I"m so finished with this show.
But they won't. These actors are making the studio millions. And even more in syndication and dvd sales. There are many examples of the studios who are greedy and don't compensate the actors properly. (look at Happy Days). These actors are giving up many other projects to make this studio a bunch of money. I think they should try to get as much money as they can. The studio will dump them when they aren't getting the ratings they are now and won't blink an eye.
When you become a success in the entertainment field it is your time to mine the gold – if you don't mine your own gold – the promoters aren't going to give it to you.
In the entertainment field, I include singers, actors, atheletes and any other form of employment where Joe Blow pays (in one way or another) to see the performance. Are they paid exhorbitantly in comparison to everyone in the work-a-day world – You Bet! Are the worth it – well we continue to pay to watch them perform, so yes they are worth it.
Doesn't make it right, but it does make it real!
I don't know how anyone can be expected to work for such low wages. Nonetheless, I think the studio should settle the lawsuit by letting them out of their contracts and close down production. It will be hard for the actors to get new jobs once they've been labeled as trouble-makers.
I've seen almost all these actors in commercials and other projects. I'm sure they are paid well for those too. Hell, maybe I'm just jealous.
I don't make 65,000 a year, I am unemployed so 65,000 an episode sounds great, where can I sign? I can start imeediately and I would sign a 7 year contract for that!
But are you gay enough?
It's amazing to me that often the same people who criticize these actors for wanting higher pay criticize those who criticize Wall Street and CEOs for their ridiculous pay (and usually accuse them of communism). The bottom line here is ABC is making millions off this show and these actors. Why should the bigwigs there be compensated for the work the actors (and writers) do to bring in the millions in advertising and merchandising? And the stars of Friends got WAY more than this per episode toward the end of the show. No one deserves this kind of pay in my opinion, but if some Wall St. execs and CEOs (and some sport stars) can get it, why shouldn't some actors? After all, they don't destroy the economy like some people getting that kind of pay.
And to all those gloating about their MBAs: Do you know how easy it is to get an MBA for someone who is just a little bit above average in intelligence? LOL. That's why they're a dime a dozen.
$65,000 an episode?? – Seriously – and they are complaining while we the public have to for over $30 for their DVDS –
it really is sickening how greedy this country has become – everything is money, money, money.
I couldn't agree more! They should be thankful they go to be on the show at all. Their current contracts are good for 7 years. The studio takes a huge risk and it out millions of dollars. There is no guarantee that a series will do well.
Quite frankly I think they're all ungrateful and greedy. $65k an episode when the rest of the country is in recession. Oh poor babies!
This stupid act of solidarity of theirs makes me NOT want to watch them anymore. I don't respect them for not honoring the contract that they all read and signed. HYPOCRITES!
Yes Luke, it is all about money and you're complaining about having to pay for your precious DVD's. So do you expect to get everything for free? My guess is you're one of those types who expect everything to be handed to them without having to work for it. Say hi to your mom next time she comes down to do (your) laundry in your basement bedroom.
One of the funniest things about this situation is the Hollywood crowd being greedy when most are always bashing corporate America for what they are doing themselves.
Pot calling the kettle ...
On a side note; I dred watching the show lately because of the appearence of a few of the actors. Some look very ill, like they are anorexic or on something. I hope this season they look healthier.
And the LA LA land crowd can't understand why the viewing public holds them in such contempt. Just a bunch a GREEDY bottom feeder's.
I love the show but they suck. I realize it's America and they have the freedom to do what they want. But just like with athletes why did you sign the contract? Do you deserve a raise, perhaps. And if they can afford to pay you, great. But eventually broadcast TV will end up showing 15 minutes of commecials for every 30 minute show.
I thought seven year contracts were pretty much the norm for TV shows.
That's why a lot of shows, even with good ratings, end after 7 years. And the few that go on after 7 years, you read about their actors getting salaries bumped up to the $1M/episode range (think of Friends or Fraser).
Sorry.....I need a reality check here...........yes, I love the show but......it comes down to "value"......sure I want them to be paid fairly, yet, when is it too much? This did not sit well with me and I probably will be looking for something else on Wednesdays at 9 PM.....
That is because you have failed to consider the network. The network makes a ton of money off this show. Why should the network get to keep it all for themselves? Why shouldn't the cast get a cut of the profits? After all, the network just airs the show, they don't act in it. Shouldn't the actors, you know, the ones that people tune in to watch, get a share of the money earned off their work?
I guess by your thinking, the network should rake in all the profits and screw what the actors want, right?
I'm with you Deborah. I like the show but probably won't watch it anymore. I just hate rich people complaining about not making enough money. I mean, $65K a week and you want more?!? C'mon Man! My stand is you got a contract. When the contract is nearing the end, then we'll talk. In the meantime, shut up!
Jackson. The studio takes the risk of monetary loss on a failed show not the actors. Let the actors sign up to bare the loss then I'm ok with larger profits for the actors
When is it your business? You're not signing the checks. I don't know why, but for some reason the 21st century has given everyone a massively inflated sense of self-importance.
Here are the facts... a contract was written and provided up front, your fault if you did not read it and understand it. Secondly, Fox did an excellent job casting the characters AND they are just those characters. Due to Fox's success of casting and the writer, the show is a hit. If anyone deserves a promotion it should be the writer and individuals responsible for selecting a great cast. The show has added to the success of the individuals and increased their worth. If the show was not a hit does the production company ask for return in profit from the cast? This is a trend with actors/actress, it should STOP. Entertainment is an important part of our culture but it is not the essence of who we are. Wake up to reality, you did not readf the contract, how long ago...!
You clearly cannot face facts – evidenced by the fact this show is not on FOX at all.
EVERYONE WOULD JUMP ON 100K SO KEEP MOVING AND WHOEVER GOT THAT OFFER IN THESE TIMES
do not allow people to manipulate you out of making money...everyone needs money
i make 170 i say 100k person..get it
noone should know where anyone lives–this is inidication someone has access to a location...track it.
basement comment..track it
believe me take the 100k position if its offered.
For all of you that think they deserve more money just remember you are paying for it. The network will raise adv rates and the companies will raise their prices to pay for the higher rates
Besides Ed I never heard of the other actors. They should count their blessing they fell into this as some would most likely be waiting
My guess is their agents put them up to this as they get a bigger take as well
Well, you may never have heard of her, but Sofia Vergara is the highest earning woman is the highest paid actress on TV. So, climb out of your hole.
If you are too ignorant to understand I did not know the actors BEFORE the show started that's your problem. Naturally watching it I know them now. Sorry my comment was too complicated for you. Normally I prefer not to respond like this but since you started ....
I agree that there asking for a lot of money but this is also a very popular show that brings in a lot of money. So its reasonable for them to ask for more if the show makes more. The money has to go somewhere right?
Your logic is flawed. For one, they signed a contract which specified their compensation. They now want to break that contract by demanding more money. By that argument, it would be just as ridiculous for the employer to say, "I know we have a binding contract, but I"ve decided to pay you less than what we agreed",
Secondly, the fact that the show is a hit & profitable doesn't automatically mean the actors alone "deserve" more money. There are hundreds of people involved in a successful show: producers, directors, writers, grips, lighting, camera operators, gophers, makeup, hair, costumers, set designers, etc. If the actors deserve a raise, so do they.
Thirdly, since when does a company's profitabilty automatically mean salary hikes for the employees? If Burger King or Wal-Mart have a profitable year, does that mean all the employees demand salary increases? Of course not. The same logic applies here.
This is a classic case of greed, nothing more.
Pay them it's a great show
If everyone who thinks they are greedy stopped watching it would go off the air.....but most dont live what they preach....Second of all, in this country like the CEO if you can negotiate it you should get the salary you want.....but these actors are not the only people who make the show funny.........writers, directors etec.....also make it work...
Reading all of the comments on here, I see a lot of people calling the actors on this show "greedy" and "spoiled" but in reality, I can gurantee that if anyone came up to you guys and said "Hey, wanna come work for me and make $100,000 a year?" You would JUMP on that chance. What these people are doing is no different. There being paid to do there job, and whether you believe it or not, Its a Pretty damn hard one.
So get the hell over it. Some people make a lot of money, some dont. You dont like that? Go be an actor, and hope to make it big. Otherwise, stop complaning.
Aron, you're rediculous.... I am a 32 year old single father with a 9year old daughter with leukemia, and a 7 year old son going in second grade. I make 35,000 a year...with no support from the mother (full custody here).. You offer me $100,000 to do a job, I'll tell you to kick rocks... There's much more to value in life than money... So be very, very, very careful what you "guarantee" someone will do for...
Innomate one: Sorry to hear that, I really am. But if someone offered you $100k a year to do something you love and you said no, then youre stupid. Plan and simple.
Inominateone, I call BS! You'd jump at 100K in a heartbeat just like anyone else.
Nice sob story, though.
agreed, I'm not buying that crap for a second. And no, the sob story does not lend your nonsense any credence.
This show is just disgusting jewish degenerative "entertainment" to distract the masses and try and brainwash them.
Move out of your mommy's basement.
Greed!! Greed!! Greed! I will not watch that show again, those figures are disgusting, as well as the poor wretched little actors and actresses that need more money.. America at its finest...winnning....not
Its an hilarious, multi-award winning show that is making ABC hundreds of millions of dollars. When the contracts were signed, they did not know how much value they would create for ABC so why shouldn't they be able to renegotiate a better deal? SMH.
its pretty low for a hit show. Friends actors were making 1 million per episode a peice.
No. Jennifer Aniston made that much an episode. Why? I don't know. Also, Friends had been on the air way longer by the time she reached that salary – not too mention the buzz Aniston was getting in her personal life as Mrs. Pitt then. You can't compare the two. But I'd watch Modern Family anytime over Friends.
the actors are just enforcing the "trickle down theory", they can, because they get contracts and are supported by unions. The majority of the rest of us don't get these safeguards and the ones who preach 'trickle down' sure as hell want to make sure we don't get these safeguards or are trying like mad to eliminate the ones we do have.
There's nothing wrong with talented, hard-working employees being properly compensated for their work. If someone's craft is in high demand (I'm pretty sure Modern Family is one of the top viewed shows on TV right now...) they deserve a just payment in return. Considering how much ABC makes off the show, it isn't unreasonable for the actors to request a raise. Didn't Charlie Sheen makes around $2 million an episode??
charlie received 2mil per episode, packaged out for the rest of the season and the next season. good for charlie..he's back in business
Sofia Vergara's net worth was recently estimated at $19 million. She really needs more money now, doesn't she.
$65,000 and $100+K are both higher figures than a lot of Americans make now.
Let's get real.
They are both higher figures then most americans make, but most americans arent actors on a top rated television series that is making the network millions. You want to compare apples to oranges anymore?
I'd pay 65k to suck those t i tt ies.
Becky and ProperVillain, let's assume an "employer" comes to you two with a product only you two can produce. If either of you quit the "company" the product will fizzle out and cannot be produced by anyone else. The product is a huge success and your employer is raking in millions while paying you very little of these huge profits. How long would you be willing to work for $43,000 – knowing how instrumental you are to the product – while your "employer" rakes it in? I agree these salaries are out of my range, but that doesn't make them wrong or the "employees" greedy.
I see can definitely see your point and can appreciate it. I have a hard time with actors getting tons of money for their job when so many educators are being let go from teaching jobs because of a lack of funding. I think our country is completely backward when we value entertainment over education. That is all.
my cousin is not even 450 and she is making 250k
The kids make more money than I do in a year and I have an MBA. Something doesn't add up
Yea, youre pathetic. I dont have an MBA, just my undergrad BA, and i make 185. Youre pathetic!
Yeah well you went into the wrong field. Your degree and making millions doesn't always correlate. C'mon. Think of sports stars, actors, singers. You can make it with talent if you are lucky and good enough
The show sucks and it is surprising that the actors are so greedy on this overrated garbage.
If the contracts aren't proper now, why weren't they improper 3-4 years ago when the stars signed them? The stars signed them, so live up to your contracts. The networks make alot of money off the successful shows, and alot of that money is lost on the unsuccessful shows that get cancelled quickly.
I certainly think that actors who do well should be compensated well - but give me a break, 150K per EPISODE? Salaries are so out of whack in this country. Just like the CEO's that make millions annualy in salary - its so at odds with the standard worker salaries. A production like modern family is a team effort - its all the writers, directors, stage hands, camera people, sound people, post production work, on and on and on - do you thing THEY will get a huge increase in salary as a result of the success of the show? No.. but I'm sure the actors don't care. Greed and wealth attainment have replaced honest work. instead of everyone sharing in the pie, it's who gets the fruit and who gets the crumbs. That's why I prefer British shows - they have a tight budget, the actors get paid nothing like their US counterparts, and I think the art of the craft is in many ways superior.
So these idiots get paid an extreme amount of money and they have the audacity to sue?? I have never watched the show but I certainly hope they cancel it at this point. Greedy *astards
Who, exactly, is being greedy? If they show is making a large and presumably increasing amount of money, and your performance is part of that success, wouldn't you expect your compensation to increase with it's performance?
$65,000 an episode is dirt cheap for a sitcom as popular as that one. These actors are bound to a contract for 7+ years, but guess what? Their employer is not bound to any contract. Their show could have been cancelled in season one. It happens all the time. So I say more power to them. I hope they all make as much as $105,000 per episode because the show is raking in the $$$.
I'm okay with paying Sofia Vergara big bucks to parade those DD bombas around... the rest of them are greedy pr1cks lol
Actors are like Athletes. They need to get what they can, when they can. Who knows when their career may end. . The studio is making MILLIONS and MILLIONS off of them. I do not begrudge a TV actor trying to get the most they can, especially if they are in a critically acclaimed, highly rated show.
Actors are like athletes? Seriously? Athletes have a short shelf life due to the physicality of the sport, but most of them go on to be commentators or sell inventions on late night television. Actors can continue working way into old age if they are any good at what they do. You think they have to get the money while they can? Yeah... tell that to Jack Nicholson or Dustin Hoffman. Finally, how many millions does a person need to live a decent life?
I hate that the show is now tainted with greed. YOU WORK ON A TELEVISION SHOW! As a teacher who is worried that there's not enough money in school budgets to hired on this year, I would gladly come work on your show for my annual teacher salary of just $43,000 for the entire year! Contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am an accountant, and I would love to make that much too. The point is not everyone can act and appeal to a large amount of viewers. and those that do can hep the networks make 100's of millions. They are the top of their field , most actors don't earn enough to survive. Also think of art going for millions, why don't they just give it to us?
Let them try to get as much out of the studio as they can. You should appreciati they are coming together as a group to fight the man. Kind of union like!
All you guys complaining about your jobs and your pay....why don't you try something else then?? If you think you could be an actor and have a popular tv show...give it a try. If you can't then just keep quiet. They can get the money because they are making the network big bucks. If they didn't make the network money, nobody would be paying them 100K an episode.
Yeah, can these people get any greedier? Tell you what, why don't I switch salaries just for one month with one of you? Afterwards I'm pretty sure you will drop these ridiculous ploys to get more money disguised as legitimate lawsuits. What a pack of spoiled primadonna's...
Why don't you swap jobs AND salaries? If the show tanks because you can't act, then what?
Many of them already had low level jobs as wait staff. They know they have a good thing. Good for them, they made it big, the American dream. Let them have it, then let people be able to dream for it. Just the possibility of having a big pot at the end of the rainbow makes like more interesting. You make things fair and you end up with Cuba.
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