Just last week, Modern Family supporting stars Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara all managed to secure spots among the nominations for the 2012 Emmy awards. Today they're making headlines for a different reason. Some contract drama has arisen, which has reportedly caused a delay in the start of production for Season 4 of the ABC comedy series.

From what THR is reporting, salary negotiations between some of the cast of Modern Family and 20th Television resulted in the delay of today's scheduled table-read for the start of Season 4. What's more, Burrell, Bowen, Ferguson, Stonestreet and Vergara have reportedly filed suit today to void their contracts. According to THR's sources, they're claiming their deals violate California's "7 Year Rule, which prohibits personal services contracts for longer than 7 years." Apparently, this is not an uncommon legal strategy for actors to take when they're looking to void their contracts amidst negotiations.

Given their recent Emmy nominations (and Forbes' recently released report of the highest paid TV actresses, which has Vergara topping the list), it's hard to feel especially sympathetic about their salary concerns. Things seem to be going well for them. Then again, those mentioned Emmy nods may serve as a nice reminder to the producers that these guys deserve a bit more cheddar for their contributions to the ratings-successful comedy.

This certainly sounds like an ongoing ordeal, and one that primarily concerns me as a TV viewer and a fan of the series. In the end, what they make is their business, but the fact that the standoff between the actors and the producer has already caused a (currently minor) delay in the production of the series' approaching new season may be cause for concern. Let's hope they get things worked out soon so the series will be able to return on schedule.

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