LOS ANGELES — The top programming executive for ABC primetime television said he expects the network’s hit comedy “Modern Family” to debut on schedule in September, despite a current dispute over salaries with several of the show’s top stars.
“Modern Family will absolutely start on time,” Paul Lee, ABC entertainment president, told reporters at a gathering of TV critics in Beverly Hills on Friday. “We’re negotiating at the moment, and hopefully will get this resolved.”
The sitcom about the everyday lives of a family of fathers, sons, daughters and grandkids living in suburbia is among ABC’s top shows, and it won the Emmy – U.S. television’s highest honor – for best comedy last year. It is nominated again this year, and is scheduled to return to airwaves on September 26.
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Earlier this week, cast members Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell sued the network for violating their contracts in a move largely seen as a bid for higher salaries amid contract re-negotiations. Ed O’Neill, who portrays the family patriarch, later joined his fellow cast members.
A first “table read” rehearsal for the season was canceled, but as of Thursday, the actors were reported by industry trade publications to be back at work as contract talks continued.
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