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TV Critics Tour: ABC entertainment chief 'optimistic' about 'Modern Family'
BEVERLY HILLS — “Modern Family” is embroiled in a thoroughly modern dispute over money which, per some reports earlier this week, threatened to derail this season's launch in September.
But in a carefully parsed response to a half-a-dozen questions posed here (in artfully different ways), Paul Lee, ABC entertainment chief, refused to characterize the negotiations except to say that he was “optimistic” that would be resolved — and resolved in time for the new season launch.
The adult cast members have sued 20th Century Fox [the producer] in an effort to break a pact that has secured them to a seven-year run which would also have the effect of limiting their ability to secure big raises or even pieces of the residuals — “Modern Family,” TV's most esteemed (and successful) comedy on track to win a consecutive best comedy Emmy in September — could last a decade, bringing Fox and ABC billions in back-end revenue via syndication and various other venues. The cast — much like the “Friends” cast a decade ago — have banded together to make certain they benefit from the windfall as well. Said Lee, “I expect it to start on time. We're in the middle of negotiations [and] we're hopeful, optimistic, we'll be able to resolve it.”