When I ran into “Modern Family” co-creator Steve Levitan early at ABC’s press tour party, he seemed very relaxed and happy for a man whose show was in the middle of a very public salary dispute between his six adult stars and the studio that pays their salaries.
When asked how the negotiations were going, Levitan insisted, “Very close, very close,” and it turned out he wasn’t just putting a happy face on things. Within an hour, he received news that the negotiations had gone from “very close” to “finished.”
The Hollywood Reporter has the full salary details, but the short version is this: the five adult actors other than Ed O’Neill got significant raises on their per-episode salary, while O’Neill (who was being paid more than them at the start) got a smaller raise so they’ll all be paid the same salary. The other five also got a cut of the show’s back-end profits, which O’Neill was already entitled to; his reward for playing along was getting his profit participation increased even more.
The show is a license to print money for ABC, for 20th Century Fox Television, for Levitan and partner Christopher Lloyd, and now for its six adult stars. This was always going to be resolved. Much as some of us might have hoped for a Luke/Manny buddy show to take the original series’ place, “Modern Family” is too valuable to get shut down for long by this kind of negotiation.