Negotiations are currently underway between reps for the Modern Family cast and series producer 20th Century Fox TV and things seems to be looking up. I hear that progress has been made and reps felt optimistic heading into the 2 PM meeting, with the mood brightened further by a great table read this morning. There is a speculation that the meeting may result in a preliminary agreement, with a deal coming today or by the end of the weekend. That would be a fast development after a couple of months of negotiations. It also marks a change in tone after Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara didn’t show up for the table read on Tuesday and instead filed a lawsuit against 20th TV asking for their contracts to be voided. (The complained was amended yesterday to also include Ed O’Neil. You can read it here.)
Today’s powwow features all key players in the Modern Family salary renegotiations saga: I hear 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden are attending, along with Chris Silbermann of ICM Partners, which represents most of the cast of the hit show, Bowen’s agent Sam Gores, O’Neill manager Marc Gurvitz and Stonestreet lawyer Patti Felker, among others. I hear that also sitting at the meeting is ABC’s head of business affairs Jana Winograde as ABC is set to begin covering the costs for the show down the road. 20th TV’s most recent offer to Bowen, Burrell, Ferguson, Stonestreet and Vergara was for $150,000 an episode, up from $65,000 an episode they make now (O’Neill, who is negotiating separately, is currently at a little over $100,000 and has a small piece of the back-end of the show.) The five had been asking for $200,000 an episodes and bigger increases for future seasons than the studio has offered. It feels like the two sides are ready to breach the gap.