Modern Family's looming expansion causes ripples in ABC's hit comedy.
The main adult actors dropped their lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Friday and signed new cast deals that nearly triple their salaries for next season to about $4.5 million, paving the way for production to begin today.
And the fourth-season opener (airing Sept. 26) addresses the fallout from last May's bombshell cliffhanger: The pregnancy of Gloria (Sofia Vergara). The episode, which takes place over the entire summer, is "largely the fallout from this piece of news," says executive producer Christopher Lloyd.
Claire (Julie Bowen) is "not unhappy to find out that Gloria's going to gain a lot of weight in the next few months," while Manny "immediately thinks a lot of the responsibility is going to fall on him. He starts to sort of panic that he's going to have to be the parent of this new child," Lloyd says.
"Mitchell and Cam, who just went through kind of a difficult year and who also were trying to have a baby, have a strong reaction when they find out this baby is going to fall into Jay and Gloria's lap. It's kind of a nuanced story because there's a lot of emotion that's going to come out."
Gloria's pregnancy will play out over at least the first half of the season, while Cam (Eric Stonestreet) becomes a music teacher; Haley (Sarah Hyland) is off to college; Manny and Luke become "bar mitzvah crashers" in search of girls; Phil (Ty Burrell) "goes on an accidental gay date;" and Shelley Long is scheduled to return as Claire and Mitch's mom.
Friday's deal will pay star Ed O'Neill more (he's already higher paid), and younger actors are now angling for raises. Lloyd's partner, executive producer Steven Levitan, says the cast pay fight "was almost inevitable" given the stakes involved, but says "they're a huge part of the success of Modern Family and I'm happy they're going to get what they deserve."