Stars of ‘Modern Family’ reach contract deal

A 20th Century Fox spokesman has confirmed that deals had been reached and that shooting on the series’ fourth season will begin Monday

Image Credit: REUTERS
The cast of Modern Family, winner for best television series - comedy or musical, poses with producer Steven Levitan (3rd from L) backstage at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, in this January 15, 2012, file photo. In the comedy arena, "Modern Family," pulled in 14 nominations including best TV comedy again at the Emmy nominations July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
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The stars of Modern Family have reached new contracts to keep working on the Emmy-winning comedy, ending a dispute that had threatened to spill over into a courtroom.

A 20th Century Fox spokesman confirmed on Friday evening that the deals had been reached and that shooting on the ABC series’ fourth season will begin on Monday.

The deals cover stars Sofia Vergara, Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Five of the actors sued Fox on Tuesday, asking a judge to rule their contracts on the hit show are illegal and should be invalidated. O’Neill joined the case later in the week.

Executive producer Christopher Lloyd said the lawsuit wouldn’t have interfered with production but it is “great to have that not hanging over our head”. He said there would be no ill will on the set because the situation was resolved quickly and the show has a “charmed setup”.

Modern Family has won Emmy Awards for outstanding Comedy Series the past two years. Several of the stars, including Burrell, Bowen and Stonestreet have won individual Emmys for their work on the show.

The show was recently nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, the most of any sitcom.

The lawsuit, which claimed the actors’ contracts were illegal because they bound them to the show for more than seven years, will be dropped. Exact terms of the deal were not released.

“The particular grounds for the lawsuit are debatable,” Lloyd said. “It was a tactic in negotiations. I don’t think it was ever taken that seriously.

“It was a step along the way. I think personally our actors got some bad advice,” he said, quickly adding: “I have nothing negative to say about our actors.”

Asked if the standoff could have been avoided, he replied: “It could have been avoided if Fox and ABC wanted to overpay. It could have been avoided if the actors asked for less than they probably deserve.”

But neither side wanted to back down.

“I don’t know the terms of [the deal], probably both sides feel it didn’t end up where they wanted it to end up and that’s usually the sign it was a well-executed negotiation,” he said.