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'Modern Family': Wendi McLendon-Covey to guest as a lesbian mom -- EXCLUSIVE

Wendi McLendon-Covey is going to spend some time with the Dunphys.

The Bridesmaids star has booked a guest spot on ABC’s Modern Family playing one-half of a lesbian couple whose son gets into a fight with Lily on the first day of kindergarten. SNL alum Michaela Watkins will play her partner. “I can’t wait. I go in and film it tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday,” McLendon-Covey tells EW. “It’ll be pretty fun.”

The actress, who will appear in the third episode of the season, jokes that she’s looking forward to taking on a role that is completely different than the types of characters she’s played before — because she’s playing a loving mother. “I usually play someone who hates her kids — this time I love my child!”

Meanwhile, McLendon-Covey says she will return to work on CBS’s Rules of Engagement next month for two episodes to wrap up her storyline opposite David Spade’s character, and will soon be doing re-shoots for her ABC pilot Kings of Van Nuys, a remake of the British sitcom Only Fools and Horses.

Modern Family returns Sept. 26., and for a complete look at Fall TV premiere dates, click here.

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'Modern Family' cast strikes new salary deal

It’s a done deal: The cast of Modern Family has struck a new agreement that will keep the Emmy-winning ensemble well paid as it begins its fourth season on ABC.

“It’s unfortunate that things got to a public place,” co-creator Steve Levitan told reporters at ABC’s press tour party in Beverly Hills. “But at the end of the day, we’re all very good friends. There are a lot of people whose jobs it is to get in there and stir things up. And that’s what happened.”

All six adult actors — Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all of whom earned Emmy nods this month– were looking to boost their pay before the show returned to air. Negotiations blew up earlier this week when the cast refused to show up for a table read, then filed a a lawsuit seeking to void their seven-year contracts. The situation seemed to cool off Thursday when the cast agreed to return for another table read and both sides returned to the negotiation table later that day.

As part of the new agreement, the cast is dropping its lawsuit against the studio. Deadline reports the actors other than O’Neill will now earn in the $170,000-$180,000 per episode range, up from north of $60k, along with a piece of the syndication profits. O’Neill also got a boost on his $100k per episode paycheck.

Modern Family starts shooting its season premiere on Monday, an episode that Levitan is directing.

“I’m happy they’re going to get what they deserve,” Levitan said, and jokingly added: “Justin Bieber is now [playing] Cam.”

ABC 'optimistic' that 'Modern Family' cast will return

ABC expressed optimism that the Modern Family cast salary dispute will be resolved and the show will premiere on time in September.

“Yes, I expect the season to start on time,” said ABC entertainment president Paul Lee. “We’re hopeful and optimistic that we will be able to resolve it … I don’t want to talk specifics, but it’s a wonderful show, they’re a great cast and we’re optimistic.”

The cast of the hit comedy have been playing hardball during their contract negotiations, which are going to the wire. Stars Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet are going to court in an attempt to void their current deals. All six actors, including Ed O’Neill, are looking to boost their pay now that the hit show is beginning its fourth season.

Read more:
ABC fall premiere dates revealed
‘Modern Family’ cast scheduled to work

'Modern Family' adult cast files lawsuit against studio as salary negotiations continue

Modern Family may just have been nominated for its third Best Comedy Emmy, but the adult cast is clearly taking their ongoing salary negotiations seriously. EW has confirmed that a table read scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PT today was canceled an hour prior, when the production team was informed the actors would not be attending.

Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet filed a lawsuit today against 20th Century Fox Television seeking to void their current deals claiming they violate California’s “Seven-Year Rule” that prohibits personal service contracts lasting longer than seven years. Casts of popular shows frequently renegotiate for higher salaries between seasons 3 and 4 while committing to stay with the series beyond season 7. Ed O’Neill, whose salary is believed to be on a different level than his costars, is also unhappy with the studio’s latest offer and will join his costars’ lawsuit out of solidarity, according to The Hollywood Reporter. UPDATE: A rep for O’Neill confirms to EW he’ll join the suit.

A 20th Century Fox spokesman had no comment.

Read more:
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Emmy Watch: ‘Modern Family’ co-creator talks about surprise finale

Sofia Vergara to guest on 'Family Guy,' 'Cleveland Show' -- EXCLUSIVE

Sofia Vergara is about to be romantically linked to… Peter Griffin? The Modern Family star will cameo as his fantasy love interest in an upcoming episode of Family Guy, EW has learned. In a cutaway gag featuring Peter as a telenovela lothario, Vergara voices his sassy (and, yes, buxom) lover. And that’s not her only role in the episode; she plays a woman selling roses in a restaurant where Quagmire is “wooing” Peter so that Peter will do him a big favor. READ FULL STORY

'Homeland,' 'Community,' Christina Hendricks among Critics' Choice Award winners

The second annual Critics’ Choice Television Award winners were announced last night, and Homeland was named Best Drama Series, following up its Golden Globe win in January. Claire Danes was named Best Actress for her role in the series (Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito snagged Drama Actor awards). Other big winners included Community for Best Comedy, The Voice for Best Reality Series — Competition, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon for Best Talk Show.

In what is sure to foreshadow an Emmy showdown, funny ladies Amy Poehler and Zooey Deschanel were both named Best Actress in a Comedy Series, with Louis C.K. honored as Best Actor in a Comedy. Emmy winners Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen won for Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series for their work on Modern Family. The only repeat winner from last year, Christina Hendricks won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role on Mad Men.

Take a look at the full list of winners below: READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: 'Modern Family' co-creator talks about surprise finale


Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

Steve Levitan, the co-creator of the Emmy-winning Modern Family, talked to EW about Gloria’s surprise pregnancy in the finale, and why he opted to expand her family with Jay rather than another little one to the Cameron-Mitchell household.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Should Modern Family receive another nomination in the Outstanding Comedy, what episodes will you submit?

STEVE LEVITAN After much debate, we decided “Aunt Mommy,” “Baby on Board,” “Door to Door,” “Punkin Chunkin,” and “Leap Day.”


'Modern Family' stars Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen to host Billboard Music Awards -- EXCLUSIVE


The Billboard Music Awards is adding a Modern touch for this year’s ceremony.

EW has learned exclusively that Emmy Award-winning pair Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, best known as Claire and Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, will host the 2012 Billboard Music Awards on May 20

The pair, who won Emmys in the Supporting Actor categories last year, are following in the footsteps of Community actor Ken Jeong, who helmed the award show and received largely favorable reviews.

The Billboard Music Awards will air on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. And Modern Family airs Wednesdays.

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What's the cast of 'Modern Family,' 'Grey's' and 'Two and a Half Men' worth?


Just three years ago, Eric Stonestreet was another no-name actor working in Hollywood, getting by with occasional appearances on shows like Nip/Tuck and CSI. Today, he’s an Emmy-winning co-star of Modern Family who easily ranks as one of the funniest men in primetime TV. Does he deserve to earn as much as 30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin or The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons?

That’s what the producers behind ABC’s hit family comedy will begin asking this summer, when the ensemble is expected to seek substantial raises for working on the three-year-old series. Similar renegotiations are already in the works on Two and Half Men (where deals are up for Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer) and Grey’s Anatomy (Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh, among others), but the MF talks have the potential to be the juiciest — depending on whether the adults band together à la Friends back in 2000. READ FULL STORY

Sofia Vergara to make 'Saturday Night Live' debut

Here’s to hoping they let her yell “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” During Jonah Hill’s episode this weekend, SNL announced that Modern Family star Sofia Vergara will be hosting on April 7. It’s the first time the bombshell actress will take the stage at Studio 8H, though Vergara is hardly a stranger to going for laughs. In addition to her Emmy-nominated work on Modern Family, Vergara has appeared in Funny or Die and Jimmy Kimmel Live sketches.  (There was also her work in The Smurfs, but that’s probably in everyone’s best interest that we forget about that.)

But Vergara won’t be the only one making her SNL debut that evening. ‘Tween-friendly boy band One Direction, whose album Up All Night is released tomorrow, will put an end to this season’s overwhelmingly rock ‘n’ roll musical guest slate. So, consider yourself warned: Between the possible Gloria-like yelling and the inevitable shrieks that tend to follow boy bands anywhere they go, the April 7 episode of SNL might get loud.

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'High School Musical' 3 star guests on 'Modern Family'

EW has confirmed that High School Musical 3 alum Matt Prokop is set to join Modern Family in a guest role, as originally reported by Zap2it. The actor will play a love interest for star Sarah Hyland, his off-screen girlfriend. The couple met during auditions for HSM3 when which Prokop was cast as Troy Bolton’s (Zac Efron) eager admirer Jimmie “The Rocket” Zara. They have also appeared together in ensemble comedy Conception, Disney TV movie Geek Charming, and Struck by Lightning, the upcoming film written by and starring Glee‘s Chris Colfer.

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'Rock Center with Brian Williams' not helped by new night

NBC tried moving Rock Center with Brian Williams to a new time period but, alas, the result was the same.

The news magazine show shifted from Mondays at 10 p.m. to Wednesdays at 9 p.m. to make room for NBC’s new musical Smash. Rock Center delivered 5.3 million viewers and its usual 1.1 rating in the adult demo. The time period recently housed Harry’s Law (and averaged the same rating). NBC also aired Whitney (4.1 million, 1.5) and Chelsea (3.7 million, 1.5), both down 12 percent. At 10 p.m., L&O: SVU (6.7 million, 2.2) improved heroically on its Rock Center lead-in. READ FULL STORY

'Modern Family' airing F-bomb episode despite protests

F-bombs away!

ABC’s Modern Family is releasing its f-word payload tonight despite attempts by a some protestors to halt the episode from airing. As previously reported, two-year-old Lily will horrify her parents by learning the word “f–k” on tonight’s episode “Little Bo Bleep.”

Since news of the episode broke, the always trusty Parents Television Council and a student organization nobody has ever heard of until now called the No Cussing Club have lined up against the hit series, outraged the Emmy-winning program would portray a foul-mouthed toddler. READ FULL STORY


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