There will be a Modern Family on ABC this fall after all!
After a contract negotiation that led to the adult cast suing 20th Century Fox, the actors of ABC's No. 1 comedy have signed deals to return for a fourth season, TVGuide.com has confirmed.
Stars Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara skipped a scheduled table read on Tuesday over a salary dispute and filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox. They returned two days later for the table read, as the negotiations continued. As part of the new agreement, the actors will drop the lawsuit against the studio. Principal photography on the fourth season is slated to begin on Monday.
"It was just a matter of this process playing itself out," executive producer Steven Levitan told reporters Friday night at ABC's Television Critics Association fall TV previews. "It feels great, we're very happy. We can't wait to get started on Monday morning. I'm sure everybody will be relieved to be back on stage and I think it's going to be a great season. I never for a second doubted that we would get here, but it's a distraction that I'm happy to see end."
Despite the negotiations coming down to the wire, Levitan said he never thought he'd have to end up writing out anyone. "For me personally, not one second."
The troubled negotiations went public days before the adult cast skipped the table read — something Levitan was saddened by. "I don't know who made it public," he said. "I personally deeply regret that any of this went public. I would love to find out who released all the details because at the end of the day this could've easily be settled quietly and it made no difference. It was unfortunate, it was unnecessary, but the end result is great."
Earlier Friday, ABC chief Paul Lee told reporters that they were optimistic the negotiations would get resolved. "I expect the season to start on time," he said.
The Emmy-winning comedy will return Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on ABC.