"Modern Family" Cast Playing Hardball in Contract Renegotiations

ABC/COLLEEN HAYES(LOS ANGELES) -- There’s some dysfunction at ABC’s Emmy-winning comedy Modern Family.  Just days after the show was nominated for 14 Emmy awards, a script reading scheduled for Tuesday was abruptly cancelled.

ABC News Radio confirmed several cast members refused to show up for the read while they continue ongoing salary talks with series producer, 20th Century Fox Television.

The cast members filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles against the studio that seeks 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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