Is the “Modern Family” now experiencing a little “family” turmoil?
Six of the lead actors from ABC’s hit sitcom “Modern Family” have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. The actors are suing 20th Century Fox Television in hopes of voiding their contacts, which they claim are illegal under California law.
Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O’Neill have all joined in the lawsuit claiming that 20th Century Fox Television violated California’s “7-Year Rule”. The “7-Year Rule” prohibits personal service contracts from extending for more than seven years. The “Modern Family” actors claim their current contract should be voided because it prevents the actors from doing any other work not involving the show. The actors’ current contract binds them to “Modern Family” from February of 2009 to June 30, 2016.
The lawsuit also claims the contracts cap the raises the actors could potentially receive for additional seasons of the show. Currently, Sofia Vergara’s pay raise per season would be capped at five percent. The rest of the “Modern Family” stars’ pay raises per season would be capped at four percent. Additionally, the suit alleges Ferguson, Stonestreet, Bowen and Burrell would be required to attend and perform numerous unpaid publicity events.
“’Modern Family’ has been a breakout critical and financial success,” according to the lawsuit. “The success, however, has been built upon a collection of illegal contracts.” A spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox said the studio had no immediate comment on the ongoing litigation.
The Hollywood Reporter states the lawsuit could be a tactic used by the actors to void their contracts during renegotiations for higher pay.
The show recently wrapped up its third season. Production was set to begin on the fourth season with table readings on Tuesday, but the ongoing salary negotiations between the actors and the production company have delayed production. Currently, the cast members are being offered salary increases ranging from $150,000 to $325,000 per episode, from the current season until season nine. The cast is seeking more, hoping to receive double the offered amount if the show goes to eight or nine season, which it is reportedly expected to do.
“Modern Family” has been a breakout hit for ABC. The popular comedy won Emmy Awards for outstanding Comedy Series the past two years. Burrell, Bowen and Stonestreet have all won individual Emmys for their work on the show. The show reportedly racked in $164 million in advertising for advertising for ABC last year. “Modern Family” is currently nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, making it the most nominated sitcom at this year’s Emmys.
If you are involved in a contract dispute or other type of commercial or business litigation, call the South Carolina business litigation lawyer at the Strom Law Firm today. Our South Carolina business litigation lawyer will help you interpret your contract and see if there has been a breach in it. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help. 803.252.4800.