Modern Family Stars File Lawsuit In Salary Dispute

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July 24, 2012 | 5:56pm EST

Production on the set of U.S. sitcom Modern Family has been postponed after stars Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell filed suit against TV studio bosses in a dispute over their contracts.
The three TV regulars – along with castmates Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet – claim their current longterm deals with executives at 20th Century Fox TV are in violation of California labour laws, which state personal service contracts can last no longer than seven years.
They are asking a judge to declare their prior agreements null and void, allowing them to renegotiate fresh contracts with increased salaries.
The main castmembers, who are said to have made $60,000 each per episode for season three, reportedly rejected TV producers’ recent offer of $150,000 each per episode and they are seeking a considerable increase in pay. They are also asking for more freedom to take on non-Modern Family work, an option which is said to be seriously limited in their current contracts.
A planned table read for the first taping of the upcoming fourth season had to be cancelled on Tuesday as a result of the legal wrangle. The lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Co-star Ed O’Neill is not part of the action – he reportedly has his own deal in place, banking more than $100,000 -per-episode.
News of the salary dispute emerges days after Vergara was crowned the highest-paid actress on U.S. television by editors at Forbes magazine.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the award-winning comedy generated $165 million in advertising revenue for ABC bosses last year.