Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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'Modern Family' producer 'thrilled' by end of dispute

All's well that ends well. Word that the contract dispute involving several members of the cast of "Modern Family" came Friday evening just as Steve Levitan, one of the show's creators, was chatting with a few reporters at an ABC party in Beverly Hills. Another reporter came up and told him the deal was done. "That is fantastic news," he said, laughing. "I love that I'm hearing it like this. I'm not surprised, but I'm of course thrilled and I cannot wait to get back onstage Monday morning and start making this show again...and I'm very happy for my friends in the cast, for their success. I really am."

'Modern Family' producer 'thrilled' by end of dispute

All's well that ends well.

Word that the contract dispute involving several members of the cast of “Modern Family” came Friday evening just as Steve Levitan, one of the show's creators, was chatting with a few reporters at an ABC party in Beverly Hills.

Another reporter came up and told him the deal was done.

“That is fantastic news,” he said, laughing. “I love that I'm hearing it like this. I'm not surprised, but I'm of course thrilled and I cannot wait to get back onstage Monday morning and start making this show again...and I'm very happy for my friends in the cast, for their success. I really am.”

Even before that, though, Levitan had seemed confident that the salary disagreement would be worked out in plenty of time for the fourth season of the ABC hit.

“Sometimes you just read this stuff and you kind of laugh, because it barely resembles what's actually happening... or it doesn't capture the true tone of what's going on,” Levitan said of the coverage of the situation, which including the filing of a lawsuit by cast members Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neill.

Asked by a reporter if there were any “big plans for Lily this season” -- the preschooler played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons -- Levitan quipped, “The day Lily holds out, we're really f---ed.”

Did “Lily” show up for Thursday's table read? I asked.

“I don't know where [she was],” he said. “She's either playing coy, or playing house.”

Though he's spoken with the young actors on the show, “we didn't talk about the contracts with the kids. You know, I believe in preserving their childhood as long as possible.”

“Listen, we want everybody to share appropriately in the success of the show. We really do.”

Though the suing cast members had failed to show for a table read earlier in the week, they did appear for one on Thursday, which Levitan said went well.

“I mean these are very good friends of ours,” and though both sides “had to play our roles...it was all we could do not to call and talk.”

Sources told the Hollywood Reporter  that the new deal would boost the actors' salaries for Season 4 from $65,000 per episode to more than $150,000 (and average closer to $175,000 per episode when bonuses were included), a bit less than the $200,000 an episode the main cast members had been seeking.

No real surprise here: As NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke -- who helped develop the series when she worked at 20th Century Fox Television -- had remarked earlier in the week: “These things have a way of working out.”

 

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Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
About this blog
As the TV critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, I've always believed my job is less about thumbs -- up or down -- and more about the conversation. Because the more choices we have, the fewer people in our lives know what we're talking about when we say, "Did you see that?" And that's when television really starts to get interesting.

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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