Modern Family Cast Sues to Void Contracts

UPDATED 07/24/2012 – 2:40PM

The Associated Press has just revealed that the five major stars of Modern Family (Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara) are suing to have their contracts voided, insisting they are illegal under California Law. The law “prohibits personal service contracts from extending for more than seven years.”

A judge is being asked to throw out the contracts and condemn them as illegal because they prohibit the actors from taking other acting jobs while they are a part of the hit series. The contracts, as they now stand, bind the actors to the series from February 2009 to June 30, 2016.

Another topic the lawsuit covers are contract caps, which are the raises the actors receive for each additional season of the show. While Vergara’s pay raise per season is capped at 5 percent, the rest of her cast members named in the lawsuit receive a maximum pay increase per year of 4 percent. Interestingly, Ferguson, Stonestreet, Bowen and Burrell are also required to perform numerous unpaid publicity obligations.

When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox refused to comment on the pending lawsuit.


Can you say, “awkward”? The five adult cast members of the ABC hit show Modern Family have yet to secure contracts for the upcoming fourth season. Normally, this wouldn’t be a nail biter, except that table reads for the first episode of the new season begin today.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, cast members Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara are borrowing a negotiation tactic from the former cast of the TV show Friends and negotiating together for equal salaries.

The sixth adult member of the cast, Ed O’Neill, already makes a much larger salary than his fellow cast members, as he came to the show with a hit series (Married_ with Children) behind him.

Sources close to the negotiations say, “the five actors are asking for paychecks in the $200,000-per episode range plus backend for the series’ fourth season, with raises already secured for future seasons.”

There are conflicting reports on whether or not the five cast members will attend the first table read today if they have not reached a contract agreement with ABC and 20th Century Fox Television. But, they certainly have plenty of negotiation power for those raises-the show just collected 14 Emmy nominations, including outstanding comedy and best supporting actor noms for all six cast members.