Following The Big Bang Theory‘s two-year renewal at CBS, the other big broadcast comedy series, Modern Family, also just scored a two-season pickup at ABC. Simultaneously, producing studio 20th Century Fox TV has closed new two-year deals with the main sextet of actors on the show, Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara. I hear they landed significant salary increases, from around $350,000 an episode for the current eighth season to about $500,000 an episode for Season 9 (they also have plus a little piece of the series’ back end). I hear the studio will next negotiate new contracts with the series’ younger cast.
“Modern Family has been the centerpiece of our comedy brand for 8 seasons and we are thrilled to have it on our schedule for two more years,” said Channing Dungey, President, ABC Entertainment. “Steve and Chris have created such endearing characters, and the cast is second-to-none.”
With the two-season, 44-episode pickup, Modern Family, created/executive produced by Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, will extend its run to 10 seasons and 232 episodes, with the door left open for more.
“Modern Family remains one of the studio’s most prized assets and we are enormously grateful to ABC for this two year pickup,” said Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman, Presidents of 20th Century Fox Television.” Steve and Chris are genius producers who created nothing less than a television classic, and they would be the first to tell you that their cast and crew are the best there is.”
Reaching both agreements, especially a new license-fee pact with ABC, was not easy. Talks between the network and 20th TV started awhile ago. The studio originally sought a two-season renewal, which was met with resistance by the network at first until the two sides finally came to a deal. It followed an agreement in principle ABC and 20th TV reached at the end of February, which outlined what the license-fee structure should look like predicated on making new salary agreements with the actors. Because ABC does not own Modern Family and does not benefit from the comedy series’ rich off-network deals and international sales, it was reluctant to pay full-freight cost — as a network is required to do late in a series’ life — above certain price point.
Modern Family, in its eighth season, remains ABC’s highest-rated comedy series and the second highest-rated overall among adults 18-49 in Live+7. The show also is a five-time Best Comedy Series Emmy winner.
In a sign of confidence that Modern Family would come back, the upcoming Season 8 finale was shot as a regular season closer, not as a series finale.
“We are beyond thrilled that we get to spend more time with these characters, these amazing actors, our ridiculously-talented writers and our incredible crew – all of whom are like family to us. And the good kind of family, not the kind that argues with you all the time,” said co-creator Steve Levitan.
Added co-creator Christopher Lloyd, “We have been blessed since day one on Modern Family, and having the opportunity to spend two more years with these characters — and the brilliant actors behind them — is is the latest, and best, in a series of gaudy gifts. There is so much more to explore in the lives of this family, and so many pressing needs in the lives of our own actual families to go on ignoring, that this timing could not have worked out any better. Truly, it’s a humbling experience. Ty Burrell has already pointed out that Alexander the Great’s entire reign only lasted 8 1/2 years (326 -317 BC) so yes, everyone is deeply humbled by this.”