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"Modern Family" Cast Goes Back to Work

ABC/MARIO PEREZ(LOS ANGELES) -- The full cast of the Emmy Award-winning ABC comedy Modern Family is heading back to work and is expected to be in attendance Thursday at a previously-cancelled script reading, Deadline.com reports.

The reading was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was cancelled when star Ed O'Neill was the only adult cast member to show up.

Does this mean the dust has settled on contract talks and the lawsuit that five of O'Neill's co-stars filed this week against 20th Century Fox TV?  Not really.  Studio brass were reportedly upset by the legal actions of the cast, and the actors decided to return to work as a gesture of good will while they continue to renegotiate their contracts.

The cast members filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles against the studio seeking to void their current contracts.  According to the lawsuit, the actors allege the current contracts violate the “seven-year rule.”

The suit explains, "That provision dictates that contracts to render personal service 'may not be enforced beyond seven years from the commencement of service under it.'"

The legal maneuver by the cast is being compared by some to what the cast of Friends did in 1996 to compel NBC to give them salary increases of $100,000 each per episode.  In that case, the Friends cast said they would boycott production of Season 3, and the tactic worked.  By the time the show ended its run, each of the six cast members was earning $1 million an episode.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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