‘Modern Family’ Contract Squabble Keeps Christopher Lloyd Out of Writers Room

'Modern Family' Contract Squabble Keeps Christopher

The “Modern Family” writing staff went back to work this week on the 20th Century Fox lot but there’s a key family member missing: series co-creator/exec producer Christopher Lloyd.

Lloyd has not returned to work for the show’s sixth season as he has yet to reach an agreement on a new contract with producer 20th Century Fox TV. The specifics of the impasse are murky but it’s understood that Lloyd is looking for a shorter term than he has done in the past, possibly as short as one year. Reps for Lloyd and 20th TV declined comment.

Sources close to the situation said the sides are still in communication and both camps are hopeful that a deal will be hammered out. Lloyd’s departure or absence for an extended period would be a big loss for the ABC comedy as he is a well-loved figure in the “Modern Family” troupe and has been a pivotal player alongside co-creator and co-showrunner Steven Levitan. Levitan struck a new four-year overall deal with 20th TV earlier this year.

It’s no secret in the biz that there has been strain in recent seasons between Lloyd and Levitan, and that the two tend to divvy up the workload on episodes rather than working side by side as they once did. (Sources stressed that the hurdle at present is between Lloyd and the studio, not Levitan.)

As with any successful TV show, there have been other behind-the-scenes blowups. The six adult cast members filed a lawsuit against the studio in the summer of 2012 in a dramatic (and successful) bid to secure pay raises. But even that very public fight quickly became a distant memory once deals were worked out and production began anew on the show that has claimed four consecutive Emmy wins for best comedy series, among other accolades — not to mention syndication riches.

Despite the contract issue, Lloyd was present last week when 20th TV hosted a gathering to toast the show’s milestone-moment in its fifth season finale of featuring the wedding of gay couple Cameron and Mitchell, played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

As the “Modern Family” writers dig in to planning for season six, the hope is that this particular family squabble will be old news before spring turns to summer.

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  1. Lynn says:

    Chistopher Lloyd needs to get back on there. The 1st episode was off. Not as funny, some stuff way over the top.

  2. RyanD says:

    Sincerely hope this gets ironed out ASAP. No one wants a Modern Family that’s JUST Levitan. Surely Lloyd knows this, too, and doesn’t (or shouldn’t) want to watch his beloved co-creation get manhandled. Uncertain why it has taken 20th this long to: 1. realize his incredible value to the show, and 2. to get the F-ing deal DONE already. MF is only their biggest hit since, what?, The Simpsons?! Get it together, folks.

  3. Joachim says:

    This entire Lloyd vs. Levitan feud is a bit of brilliant Machiavellian maneuvering by Danny Zuker. As anyone who works on the show can tell you, Zuker spends most of him time whispering in the corridors, scheming in the shadows, waiting for the bodies to fall.

  4. Tim says:

    Levitan oversees the odd numbered episodes, and Lloyd oversees the even numbered. It’s been like this since Series Two.

    I bring this up only so that if you’re watching, you can clearly see a difference in their styles. Variations particularly in how the characters interact with one another.

    I enjoy both, so I do hope Lloyd works out his contract.

  5. JoelR says:

    Finally, the question is answered. Christopher Lloyd is not THE Christopher Lloyd. (Always wondered.)

  6. ravengirl57 says:

    Modern Family is my favorite comedy show. Please resolve this.

  7. Chris Llyoyd is a very talented man. I wilsh him all the best in what ever decision he make. He is also one of the nices men I’ve every meet..

  8. ThomT says:

    By year six most of the original creative team have moved on. Characters and plot lines have been pretty well developed (especially in comedies) so staff writers are usually pretty capable of keeping a series afloat. Lloyd will probably win this one but don’t be surprised if his demand for one year turns out to be his final year.

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