There’s doubt over the future of ABC’s long-running sitcom Modern Family as filming for the show’s eighth season wraps. Several of the show’s key cast members are yet to have their contracts renewed for Season 9, suggesting that producers may be taking a look at the future of the sitcom going forward.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, when Modern Family Season 8 finishes filming on Friday, six of the actors will be without contracts. The studio responsible for producing Modern Family, 20th Century Fox Television, is reportedly yet to begin negotiating with the show’s six adult stars, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Ed O’Neill, for a not yet ordered ninth season. Will Season 8 be the end of the road for Modern Family?
Insiders within the production team claim that a dispute between the show’s producers 20th Century Fox Television and host network ABC over the mounting cost of the show is to blame for the delay in contract renewals this year, with cast members expected to call for another pay rise when contract renewal negotiations begin.
ABC, which foots the bill for most of the show’s costs, is reportedly becoming increasingly concerned about the mounting cost of the show. According to Digital Spy, the six actors are said to be making roughly $350,000 per episode, plus a cut of the profits made from each series. In the summer of 2012, the cast’s salaries became very public, when the aforementioned six actors sued 20th Century Fox Television in a bid to exit their contracts. Ultimately, the actors agreed to a sizable pay rise and regular increases going forward.
If the show’s stars request another pay rise, as expected, Modern Family will become increasingly difficult to maintain for ABC. Of course, the more it pays out to actors, the less of a profit it’s going to cut from each episode of the long-running sitcom. However, it will ultimately be 20th Century Fox Television who are responsible for negotiating cast contracts.
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Modern Family is, however, a show that ABC will likely want to retain in its roster. In the United States, it continues to be ABC’s top-rated show and primetime’s No.2 comedy series, which is why the show’s stars are yet again asking for a sizable increase in their share of the show’s success. With that in mind, negotiations over the show’s future are expected to last for a good few months and long after the show’s eighth season has finished filming. That being said, the network and studio technically have until mid-May to complete those negotiations.
The ABC sitcom isn’t alone when it comes to long running shows facing production disputes. Earlier this month, the future of the only other comedy to out-perform Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory has been doubtful after intense conversations between CBS and studio Warner Bros. TV. Key cast members from Modern Family are believed to have used the precedent set down by The Big Bang Theory’s lead stars to negotiate their raises three and a half years ago.
It’s difficult to believe that ABC would simply walk away from Modern Family, especially considering the success it continues to bring to the network. However, networks ultimately make their decisions based upon profit margins, meaning profitability is key to Modern Family’s future going forward.
Modern Family Season 8 continues airing on ABC on March 1, in what will be the season’s 15th episode.
[Featured Image by ABC]