EXCLUSIVE: ABC‘s Emmy-winning comedy series Modern Family will continue with both of its dads in place. After difficult negotiations, the show’s co-creator/executive producer/co-showrunner Christopher Lloyd, who had been without a contract since the end of last season, closed a complex new overall deal late last night with Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV. The series’ writers had been working on the upcoming sixth season since last Tuesday without Lloyd, who stayed home while his deal was being negotiated. He is returning to work today, joining fellow co-creator/exec producer/co-showrunner Steve Levitan. “Chris is an incredibly gifted writer who — along with Steve — has created not just a hit series but one that is already considered a classic,” 20th CEO and Chairman Gary Newman told Deadline. “It’s a testament to their dedication and commitment that six seasons in, both he and Steve are still running the series and the quality of the episodes remains at an all-time high. On a personal note, my relationship with Chris goes back a long time, and I have great respect and admiration for him. I couldn’t be happier that he is staying ‘in the family’ — both literally and figuratively.”
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Lloyd is also very well liked by the writers, cast and crew of Modern Family. A departure of one of the show’s two original voices would have had an impact on the hit comedy, which is one of the most important assets for 20th TV with its rich, $1.5 million-per-episode off-network syndication deal at USA Network and its Emmy cachet, looking to extend its four-year winning streak in the best comedy series category.
Lloyd and Levitan had been on different negotiation tracks. Both were approached by the studio about new pacts during Season 5. Levitan engaged and in March closed a new overall deal. Meanwhile, Lloyd deferred contract talks until after he was done with the season. The two sides finally met face-to-face before the upfronts but were very far apart, and not enough progress had been made by the time the writers convened last week, leading to Lloyd’s absence.
Levitan and Lloyd had been partners when they created Modern Family but dissolved the partnership after Season 1. They had been working separately since, employing a model that didn’t require much interaction, with Levitan running the odd-numbered episodes of a season and Lloyd overseeing the even ones. Lloyd was repped in the deal by ICM Partners and advised by Bob Broder.