Audiences looking for network TV's best comedy block know that Wednesday nights on ABC are as dependable as primetime slots get, and they have been for years. Part of that popular opinion was set in motion by the long-running Modern Family, a show that can seemingly boast as many awards as it has cast members. But one thing no one involved can boast about yet is getting a Season 9 order from ABC, and this week will cement the end of production for Season 8 without any discussions going forward concerning the cast's expiring contracts. So will it get renewed?
As it often goes, the answer is a little more complicated than just "Yes" or "No" at this point, although the consensus seems to be more in the positive camp. 20th Century Fox Television, which is Modern Family's studio, is reportedly mired in disagreements with ABC over what the sitcom should cost, according to THR. That is definitely not a small issue for anyone involved, considering Modern Family has six major leads making as much as anyone else on TV, and those costs don't even cover the many children and other non-Pritchett family members.
It was around four years ago the last time Modern Family's cast went through some particularly vicious contract negotiations, at which point it became known to all that the six principle actors would be making upwards of $350,000 or more per episode, complete with some profit-sharing as well. They managed to nab such a lofty deal by joining forces and craftily slapping 20th Century Fox TV with a lawsuit to get out of their contracts if the raises weren't agreed upon. The move put the male cast members up there with the highest-paid TV actors, with Sofia Vergara becoming one of two TV actresses to make the highest paid entertainers list.
It's very possible that ABC is looking to avoid a similar fiasco this time around, with plans to get the contract talks quietly underway at a later date. It's also possible that they're waiting to see how The Big Bang Theory's contract negotiations play out.
There would be a lot of surprised people in Hollywood and beyond if ABC decided not to renew Modern Family for Season 9 before the deadline in May, since it's one of TV's top comedies, both in terms of total viewership and for the key 18-49 adult demographic. Granted, the viewers and critical acclaim aren't as wonderful as they were years ago, but that's how it goes for all of TV, and Modern Family is still regularly pulling in around 7 million viewers a week, which tons of shows would be proud of. Not to mention the stellar 4.0 demo rating, which continues to work wonders with advertisers, and companies are allegedly shelling out around $200,000 for 30-second ad spots during the ABC hit's runtime.
Modern Family airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 8:30 p.m. ET, and this week's episode will bring good ol' Fizbo back into the conversation. Head to our midseason premiere schedule to see everything else coming to the small screen in the future.