'Modern Family': ABC chief 'optimistic' about contract talks

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modern-family-table-read.jpgABC Entertainment president Paul Lee opened his time with reporters at the Television Critics Association with an understatement.

" 'Modern Family' [is] obviously lots in the news at the moment," Lee said Friday (July 27), referring to the much-publicized contract dispute between producer 20th Century Fox and six of the show's actors. He does say, though, that he expects a resolution fairly soon.

"I expect the season to start on time," Lee says. "As you know, we're in the middle of negotiations. ... We're hopeful, we're optimistic that we'll be able to resolve it."

Pressed further on the issue, Lee wouldn't say much more about the negotiations and whether he had a contingency plan if the dispute drags on: "I don't want to discuss hypotheticals," he says. "Certainly I feel hopeful about it."

"Modern Family's" six adult cast members -- Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson -- are seeking big raises over what they made last season (O'Neill reportedly earned $105,000 per episode, while the others made $65,000 per show) and a stake in the show's back-end profits.

The studio has already sold rerun rights to the show to USA for a reported $1.5 million per episode, beginning in fall 2013. "Modern Family," one of the top-rated scripted series on TV, generated $164 million in ad revenue for ABC last season.
Photo/Video credit: ABC