Cast members of the hit ABC show Modern Family are going to war with 20th Century Fox Television, the company that produces the show.
The Associated Press is reporting that Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts.
According to the report, the cast members are arguing that their contracts with 20th Century Fox Television violate a California law prohibiting personal service contracts from extending for more than seven years.
The law is said to be a tactic to prohibit actors from seeking to void contracts during renegotiations for increased compensation.
The suit follows a salary standoff that has already delayed a table read scheduled for Tuesday that would have marked the start of the fourth season of Modern Family, one of TV's top-rated comedies.
The cast, along with Ed O'Neill, who is paid more than his co-stars and has his own salary conflict with 20th Century, has hired litigator Jeff McFarland with LA's Quinn Emanuel firm and are pressing their case in court, The Hollywood Reporter wrote.
The six cast members are said to currently claim contracts that run through the seventh season of the show, but according to the Reporter, renegotiations are common between the third and fourth seasons when casts of hit shows typically get bigger paychecks in exchange for agreeing to continue beyond the seventh season.
In addition, the entertainment news source has obtained the figures that are currently being negotiated.
Sources tell THR the five cast members are being offered salary increases as follows: $150,000 per episode plus a $50,000 per episode bonus for season 4; $200,000 per episode for season 5; $225,000 for season 6; and up to $325,000 for an anticipated season 9. The cast is asking for much more, including more than double the offered salary if the show goes 8 or 9 seasons, as expected, THR wrote.
The site added that except for O'Neill, who gets paid more than anyone else on cast, the actors were paid in the $65,000-an-episode range for the show's 22-episode third season. O'Neill is believed to have made in the $105,000-per-episode range this past year, according to the sites source.
A spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox has told AP the studio had no immediate comment on the case.
Modern Family won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series the past two years. Several of the stars, including Burrell, Bowen and Stonestreet, have also won individual Emmys for their work on the show.