When we read Hollywood Reporter article detailing the upcoming contract negotiations the adult stars of “Modern Family” will be undertaking before the megahit’s fourth season, we weren’t surprised. In fact, we were wondering why we hadn’t read about this sooner.
Why? Because the show is one of the biggest hits on television, and the show’s stars have become big stars, with Emmy awards and nominations to show for their efforts. There’s a reason why shows get more expensive the longer they’re on the air: the actors and producers seek their slice of an ever-expanding pie.
According to THR, five of the six stars currently make a hearty $65,000 per episode, which was increased last year; Ed O’Neill, who was the “big name” the show touted when it started, gets a reported $105,000 per episode. What one of the trade magazine’s sources feel will be their request will be $200,000 per episode, with a $50k – $100k per episode increase per year and possibly some “back end” money (i.e. a percentage of what the show brings in via syndication). The offer will be based on what the three leads of another hit sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” got before its fourth season.
Of course, the pushback here is that this show has six leads, not three, making for a much more expensive proposition for ABC and Warner Bros. But the show is already generating over $160 million of ad revenue for the network, and it has already hauled in a record cable syndication licensing fee from USA Network; once it enters broadcast syndication, the amount that will be brought in should more than cover all six leads making hundreds of thousands per episode.
The only question will be if the leads negotiate together, a la the solidarity the leads of “Friends” always showed in their epic negotiations, or not? We’re not sure why they wouldn’t, given the fact that they all stick together at Emmy nomination time and submit themselves as supporting actors, and it seems that a united front would have more leverage. But you never know what might happens when money is involved.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the kids on the show, especially Rico Rodriguez. If they decide to renegotiate at some point, this might get very expensive for ABC and WB. But if any show can afford paying out these salaries, it’s going to be “Modern Family.”
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