Modern Family Cast Sues Over "Illegal Contracts"

<em>Modern Family</em> cast” />  <br /> On TV, they play one big (mostly) happy family.</p>
<p>But the cast of <em>Modern Family</em> is facing some serious off-screen drama after six of the show”s lead actors filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts, according to legal documents obtained by us.</p>
<p>Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O”Neill, who was originally negotiating separately, say their 20th Century Fox Television contracts break California”s “7-Year Rule,” which prohibits personal services contracts that span longer than seven years. (Their current contracts oblige them to the Emmy-winning ABC series from 2009 to 2016.) </p>
<p>“<em>Modern Family</em> has been a breakout critical and financial success,” the lawsuit states. “That success, however, has been built upon a collection of illegal contracts.”</p>
<p>A 20th Century Fox spokesperson told the Associated Press that the studio had no immediate comment on the legal action.</p>
<p>Production on the show”s fourth season was due to begin with a table reading Tuesday, although salary negotiations have set back production.</p>
<p>The suit also says that the cast”s contracts limit the pay raises they can receive each season, reports the AP. Vergara, who portrays the sultry Gloria, can”t receive more than a 5 percent pay increase per season. However, her costars are capped at 4 percent.</p>
<p>Vergara, 40, Burrell, 44, Bowen, 42, Stonestreet, 40, and Ferguson, 36, are being offered $150,000 per episode, in addition to a $50,000-per-episode bonus for season 4, sources tell the <em>Hollywood Reporter</em>. O”Neill, 66, who starred in the Fox hit <em>Married  with Children</em> until 1997, reportedly takes home larger paychecks than his costars.</p>
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