Modern Family Update: Tough Contract Talks Prompt Cancellation of First Table Read, Lawsuit

Modern Family‘s first Season 4 table read, scheduled for today, was cancelled at the last minute for fear that contentious contract talks would keep several cast members from showing, sources confirm to TVLine.

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Multiple cast members of the ABC comedy are re-negotiating their salaries with the show’s production company, 20th Century Fox TV, and Deadline.com reports that the talks aren’t going smoothly. Modern’s adult stars – including Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet – allegedly have pooled their negotiation powers to achieve a desired salary increase, similar to what the Friends cast successfully did prior to Season 3 of that sitcom. And all of the adults — save Ed O’Neill — filed suit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court to void their contracts, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Today’s gathering, a regular occurrence at which the cast would have run through an upcoming episode’s script for the first time, would have been difficult to make happen without those adult cast members in attendance.

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The change in schedule is making news because although contract negotiations are often difficult, they rarely interfere with a show’s production. (As Deadline points out, Everybody Loves Raymond and Malcolm in the Middle are notable exceptions.)

The Emmy-winning Family racked up 14 new nominations earlier this week, including its third for Outstanding Comedy Series.

UPDATE: The first Season 4 table read has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 26.