Summary

  • The salaries of the Modern Family cast increased significantly over the course of the show’s 11 seasons, with Sofia Vergara starting at $30,000 to $65,000 per episode and ending at $500,000 per episode.
  • Ed O’Neill initially earned more than his cast members due to his existing star power but later negotiated his salary to match the others at $500,000 per episode.
  • All the adult cast members, including Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ty Burrell, saw their salaries rise to $500,000 per episode by the last season.



The Modern Family salaries through the years are a great indicator of how successful the show became in the course of its 11 seasons. The well-loved and long-running mockumentary family sitcom Modern Family followed one large extended family of different households who shared the hilarious joys and struggles of raising a family. Over 11 seasons, the show received an incredible 85 Emmy nominations, won 22 Emmy Awards, and became a huge hit for ABC. The success of the series allowed for each Modern Family cast salary to rise over time.

The Modern Family cast is one of the main reasons the show became such a hit as it grew into one of the most beloved sitcom ensembles. The series helped the cast members either become bigger stars or break out into stars themselves and the show is ABC’s longest-running comedy series to the point where its cast members saw huge increases in the Modern Family salaries along the way, though not always without a fight.


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Sofia Vergara

First Episode – $65,000/ Last Episode – $500,000

Gloria is the much younger wife to Jay in Modern Family and the mother of Manny and, later, Joe. Initially, Gloria has to deal with her step-daughter thinking she is a golddigger, and feeling like she has to prove herself to her new family. However, over time, the family gets to see that Gloria genuinely loves him. Fans also see Gloria become strong, confident, and capable, gaining her American citizenship in season 6 and later becoming a realtor alongside Phil.


Her stories about her past life in Colombia help to explain her fiery temper, but she’s a loving wife and mother. Variety reports that Vergara started the series out being paid between $30,000 and $65,000 per episode. By the end of the show, Variety reported that she was earning at least $500,000 per episode.

Ed O’Neill

First Episode – $105,000/ Last Episode – $500,000

Jay in season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family

Ed O’Neill plays Jay, the grumpy father to Claire, Mitchell, Joe, and stepfather to Manny. Jay is getting a second chance at having a family, having been so busy when his older children were around that he didn’t spend much time with them. The early episodes show his gruff demeanor interfering with many of his relationships with the other characters. However, he softens over time, forming a genuine father-son relationship with Manny, admitting to Claire and Mitchell his shortcomings as a parent, and even learning to like Phil a little more.


O’Neill initially negotiated his salary separately from the other actors and was paid much more than his cast members. This makes sense as he was already a big name, having plenty of star power and name recognition from his years on Married…With Children. He started out with about $105,000 per episode (via CheatSheet). Later, though, he chose to negotiate in solidarity with the other adult actors as part of a 2012 lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Television (via THR). By the end of the show, he was earning the same amount as the other adult actors, at $500,000 per episode.

Julie Bowen

First Episode – $65,000/ Last Episode – $500,000

Claire in season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family


Bowen plays Claire Dunphy, who is often viewed as the super-mom of the Dunphy clan. She is the wife of Phil, daughter of Jay, and sister of Mitchell. Claire is a great mom, but she can also be very overbearing, tyrannical, and even a bit of a bully. Fans love her idiosyncrasies and complex character but also love how much of a mama bear she is, where she is always there to support her children and help them through the awkwardness of their teenage years.

When Claire takes a new job on Modern Family where she takes over Jay’s closet company when he retires, she struggles a lot but becomes a genuine leader. Bowen initially earned between $30,000 and $65,000 (via THR) like the other adult cast members. However, according to Deadline, she ended up renegotiating with them for a raise to $500,000 per episode by the last season.

Eric Stonestreet

First Episode – $20,000/Last Episode – $500,000


Stonestreet plays Cameron Tucker, Mitchell’s husband, Lily’s and Rex’s father, and Claire Dunphy’s brother-in-law. Outgoing and compassionate, Cameron is a very likable character, who shines through his dramatic antics (such as dance-offs or football rivalries). He can be overly dramatic and easily offended, yet he is also someone who loves helping people, from his loved ones to total strangers. Cam’s dream of being a football coach drives his arc in the later seasons which leads him and his family to move away in the Modern Family finale.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Stonestreet began the show earning about $20,000 per episode. That amount is fairly standard in the industry for someone who hasn’t had a particularly long stint as a main cast member in television. This increased to $65,000 by Season 3, and finally to $500,000 per episode for the last season (via Deadline).


Jesse Tyler Ferguson

First Episode – $30,000-$65,000/Last Episode – $500,000

Mitch in season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family

Ferguson plays Mitchell Pritchett, Claire Dunphy’s younger brother, husband of Cameron, and adoptive father of Lily and Rexford. Mitchell is a classic Type-A personality; High-strung and obsessive, he matches well with the easy-going and fun-loving Cameron. Mitch faced several struggles throughout the series from gaining acceptance from his father to not being able to have a second child with Cam. However, Mitch always leaned on his family in these hard times and pulled through.


Ferguson originally earned about $65,000 per episode (via Deadline) in Season 1 but went on to earn $500,000 per episode for the last season (via Digital Spy). This is right on par with most of the main adult cast members throughout the run of the series. Ferguson had experience as a series regular on another show, but The Class was canceled early in its run.

Ty Burrell

First Episode – $65,000/Last Episode – $500,000

Phil in season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family

Burrell plays Phil Dunphy, a man-child who loves to have fun, be silly, and spend time with his kids. His goofiness makes him lovable but also frustrating for his wife Claire. He calls her ‘superwoman,’ which certainly goes a long way towards mollifying her annoyance at his sometimes childlike behavior. Yet when he needs to be the stern father, like when Haley is kicked out of college, or when he needs to be there to support his kids, like when Alex struggles with being away from home, he shows what an amazing dad he is.


Just like the other adult cast members of Modern Family, Burrell started out making about $65,000 an episode (via THR). He too ended up making a huge $500,000 per episode by the last season (via Digital Spy).

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Rico Rodriguez

First Episode – $15,000/Last Episode – $125,000

Manny season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family

Rodriguez plays the lovable Manny Delgado-Pritchett, the son of Gloria. He is a sensitive young man who falls in love easily and is more cultured than his young peers, sometimes making him an outcast at school. However, throughout the series, Manny is seen always embracing the things that he loves and pursuing his passions.


As the show became more popular, Rodriguez and the other original child actors negotiated raises to $70,000 per episode for Season 4, before finally reaching $125,000 per episode for the last season (via Looper). While a lot of television networks will make contracts with actors for a standard rate for the first six seasons of a potential show’s run when they sign on to a pilot, the network also gives them the option to negotiate pay raises before that. It’s unknown which season Modern Family’s initial contracts ran through since the cast were able to negotiate raises.

Sarah Hyland

First Episode – $15,000/ Last Episode – $125,000


Sarah Hyland plays Haley Dunphy, the stereotypical socialite teenager who wants to grow up too fast. She has a mind of her own and keeps her parents, Phil and Claire, on their toes. However, Haley shows incredible growth throughout the series, taking responsibility for her mistakes and starting her career path. Haley’s pregnancy storyline in Modern Family was a big focus of the later seasons right until it ended.

Even though she was much older, according to Cosmopolitan, Hyland was paid around $15,000 initially. Like the rest of the children, she managed to earn a raise by season 4, earning around $70,000 (via Looper). The Looper also reports that this salary was renegotiated and raised throughout the series, finally culminating in about $125,000 per episode for season 11.

Ariel Winter

First Episode – $15,000/Last Episode – $125,000

Alex in season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family


Winter plays Alex Dunphy, the brainy 11-year-old daughter of Claire and Phil. Not popular like her sister, or happy with simple pleasures like her brother, Alex has more trouble finding her way. By focusing on her strengths and passion for science, she comes to find her confidence in herself. Alex is the smartest of the family by far, which sometimes adds to her feeling as an outcast but the love she has for her family grows stronger over time.

Winter was paid about $70,000 for one episode in season 4 (via Looper), which is pretty impressive for such a young actor. Along with the other child actors, she was given raises throughout the show’s span, eventually being paid $125,000 per episode in season 11. It seems that as the show’s success grew, each set of actors were able to successfully negotiate together.


Nolan Gould

First Episode – $15,000/ Last Episode – $125,000

Luke in season 1 and season 11 of Modern Family

Gould, who plays Luke Dunphy in the show, also started out with the same salary as his Modern Family faux-siblings. Usually seen hanging out with Manny or his dad, Luke doesn’t care what others think about him, and generally just wants to have fun. He considers his dad Phil to be his best friend and loves to spend time inventing things with him.

Gould was paid $70,000 per episode by season 4 (via Looper), which was a huge increase from the reported $15,000 they made. Along with the other child actors, his pay was renegotiated several times. The Looper also reports that his salary was raised to about $100,000 per episode for Modern Family seasons 9 and 10, before finally reaching $125,000 for season 11.


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How The Modern Family Salaries Compared To Similar Shows

Modern Family’s Success Helped Boost The Actors’ Salaries

In the entertainment industry, paychecks for actors can vary wildly. A dayplayer on an episode of television might only make a few hundred dollars, while someone with a guest star credit might make a few thousand. Starting salaries for sitcoms, particularly when a network isn’t sure whether the show will be a success or not, are typically not exceedingly high for series regulars. That is, of course, unless they already have a huge body of work behind them and proven success, like Modern Family’s Ed O’Neil.


He began Modern Family with a six-figure paycheck because of his proven track record on television. Salaries for the rest of the cast were lower because they didn’t have that same track record yet. Salaries for children on television are typically even lower than the adults because they don’t work as many hours of the day (and have to spend a specific number of hours in an on-set classroom) and usually don’t have as much experience. It’s expected that their starting salaries would be significantly lower than the adults on the sitcom.

What allowed Modern Family’s adult cast members to increase their pay per episode is very much the decision for them all to negotiate together. Comparing their salaries to other extremely successful, critically lauded, and award-winning shows like The Big Bang Theory and Friends puts their salaries in perspective. Both other shows featured casts that started off making less than $50,000 per episode.


For Friends, the entire cast actually started off the series making about $22,500 per episode. The cast was mostly unknown actors and the show was not a sure thing. They maintained a united front during the run of the series with all six cast members negotiating for pay raises together. By the end of the show’s run, the Friends cast were each making $1 million per episode. Their cast, however, was also smaller, and the show aired several years before Modern Family when live ratings were more important than streaming rights.

For The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco began the show with $60,000 per episode each, but were considered the main characters of the show. Kunal Kayyar and Simon Helberg began the show with $45,000 each. Over time, the cast, like Friends before it and Modern Family after it, negotiated their pay raises together, and all five cast members were making $1 million an episode by the end. Again, the budget for a smaller ensemble and the number of awards pulled in for the show likely helped get those bigger paychecks.


Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik joined the series later than other cast members. They started their time on the show at about $45,000 a piece and were making around $425,000 per episode in the final season, closer to what the main cast of Modern Family was making. Modern Family, however, had a much larger ensemble to budget for with six cast members in the parental roles and five main cast members in the roles of their children.

It’s clear that Modern Family, considering the size of the ensemble and the success of the show, paid their actors a comparable salary to other popular sitcoms.

Modern Family Poster

Modern Family

Modern Family is a comedy series that follows the unconventional Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker family as they redefine what makes a family in their modern age. Broken into sub-families, the three diverse groups shake up the nuclear formula with empty nesters, adopted children, gender neutrality, and more as they attempt to navigate the various pitfalls and comedic misadventures of their dysfunctional but warm-hearted family dynamic.

Cast
Ed O’Neill , Sofia Vergara , Julie Bowen , Ty Burrell , Jesse Tyler Ferguson , Eric Stonestreet , Sarah Hyland , Ariel Winter , Nolan Gould , Rico Rodriguez

Release Date
September 23, 2009

Seasons
11

Writers
Christopher Lloyd , Steven Levitan

Showrunner
Christopher Lloyd , Steven Levitan

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