EXCLUSIVE: Modern Family has taken an important step toward a final 11th season. I hear that the ABC comedy series’ original adult cast, stars Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara, are close to deals with producing studio 20th Century Fox TV to return. I hear that there are still a few outstanding issues to be resolved but an agreement on the financial terms has been reached, with all six expected to reprise their roles in a potential eleventh season, which I hear would consist of at least 18 episodes.
In the most recent contract negotiation two years ago, O’Neill, Bowen, Burrell, Ferguson, Stonestreet and Vergara scored major salary increases to about $500,000 an episode (they also have a piece of the series’ backend.). I hear that they would get about the same for the additional episodes as ABC’s license fee for a potential eleventh season would be flat with the current 10th season, sources say.
Like with previous negotiations, 20th TV is starting with the original adult cast before focusing on the original kid actors — now all young adults. I hear Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez, who all also scored salary bumps at the last negotiation two years ago, have started preliminary conversations with 20th TV. The talks are said to be in very early stages but I haven’t heard of any holdouts in the group who do not want to continue.
Then there are the writers. Modern Family creators/showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd have said publicly that they are open to one more season. They too are said to be in early stages of deal-making but are expected to sign on to shepherd their series’ conclusion. Additionally, Levitan and Lloyd are looking to keep some of their key writers for the final installment; those deals also have to be worked out.
Back in early August, Lloyd was insistent that if Season 10 would be the last, the decision had to be made fast. “We need to know relatively soon because if it’s the last season we need to know it’s the last season so we can both recognize the show but also recognize the people who’ve been together for 10 years,” he told Deadline back then .
CBS announced in late August that the then-upcoming 12th season of The Big Bang Theory would be its last. Legacy shows such as Big Bang and Modern Family require proper good-byes, so it is unlikely that ABC would make the call to end the series at the last minute. With Season 10 already mapped out and about halfway through production, everyone operates under the assumption that deals for a final installment will be made.
Likely factoring into that confidence is the fact that 20th TV will soon become part of Disney and a corporate sibling to ABC, with both the network and the studio overseen by Dana Walden, who developed and produced Modern Family at 20th TV. The series has a lucrative off-network deal, so it would be beneficial for corporate parent Disney to get another season.