There they go again: Several members of the cast of MTV's "Jersey Shore" stopped production on the show Monday in an effort to get a salary boost for all the fist-pumping, club-cruising, body-bronzing and hair-gelling that has gone into making this improbable hit.
In a late-day statement that carefully avoided confirming or denying a TMZ post (as well as other website posts) from early Monday that reported the stoppage, MTV said, "We don't comment on any contractual conversations. Season 2 premieres July 29 and production is on schedule."
According to TMZ, some cast members have remained covetous of richer side deals that MTV cut for Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino - both of whom were reportedly not part of the stoppage - after the first season. The website, for example, said Sorrentino had been offered a signing bonus for season 4 - should the show ever reach that threshold - ranging from "$60,000 to $180,000," depending on how successful the second season is. Each of the reported holdouts - Angelina Pivarnick, Jenni "JWOWW" Farley (of Franklin Square), Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola and Vinny Guadagnino - are believed to be making at least $10,000 per episode, though salary estimates in the media vary widely.
Indeed, the surprise MTV hit returns a week from Thursday because the first half of the season was shot earlier this year in Miami. What happens in Seaside Heights - where cast and crew are poised to shoot the rest of the season - is what's important now, at least to "Jersey" fans.
Nevertheless, reports of a new impending deal for the cast surfaced late Monday on the Hollywood Reporter's website. It would seem inconceivable that MTV would scuttle one of its biggest hits in years over fresh salary demands. Chris Linn, executive vice president of MTV Productions, said in an interview Monday - while declining to comment on the actual salary dispute - "We're overjoyed by the strength of [the Miami] episodes. The cast does not disappoint and the show does not disappoint."