‘Becker’ cast is cured but salaries are stable

Actors return to set, but 'no resolution' has been reached

Apparently it was just a 24-hour bug that bit the supporting cast of CBS’ “Becker.”

The five actors showed up for work Thursday despite having called in sick the day before (Daily Variety, Aug. 1).

The thesps — Terry Farrell, Hattie Winston, Alex Desert, Shawnee Smith and Saverio Guerra — didn’t appear at the series’ first table read of the season on Wednesday. In response, Paramount TV Group topper Kerry McCluggage dispatched a team of doctors to the actors’ homes to check out their “illnesses.”

The quartet staged the sick-out after Paramount execs declined to discuss bumping up their weekly paychecks. Although the show is going into its fourth year, the supporting players haven’t yet negotiated an increase beyond their normal yearly raises.

Reps for the actors hadn’t been clear whether the cast would punch in for work yesterday morning. But all five actors were on the “Becker” set at 10 a.m. as scheduled and without incident, despite no change in salary.

‘No resolution’

“There’s no resolution, but they’re there (on set),” said Joel King, whose Pakula/King & Associates — along with Don Buchwald & Associates — reps the majority of the cast. “This needs to get resolved. But there’s really nothing more to say.”

King wouldn’t comment on whether the cast would fall ill again or stage any other sort of protest. But with everything back to normal on Thursday, both the cast and studio appeared to dodge the “Becker” bullet for now.

Paramount execs remained mum regarding the “Becker” crisis, but sources said the studio believed the castmembers had been in breach of contract with the studio for failing to show up for the table read.

Sources say the studio is open to a renegotiation, but not until “Becker” is sold into syndication. Until then, Paramount won’t know exactly what its backend potential is for the series and how much of that to share with the cast.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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