Tip: There's always money in the banana stand.
"Arrested Development" has been all over our timelines in the past week, which is such a welcome distraction from the rest of the world. Netflix just revealed yesterday that Season 5 will be streaming May 29. Last Friday, they started streaming a recut version of Season 4, called "Arrested Development: Fateful Consequences."
One of the consequences of that choice was to start a bit of a pay dispute: The cast wants a cut of the recut.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Arrested" creator Mitch Hurwitz and producer 20th Century Fox Television re-edited the 15 episodes of Season 4 to a full 22 episodes. One reason was to try and land a lucrative syndication deal for the show. The 22, 22-minute episodes are "more in line with its original Fox run and more suitable to be sold in bulk." THR's sources said Hurwitz added a few minutes of unaired content to this recut version that were not in Netflix's original 30-minute-plus Season 4 episodes.
Most of the stars (including Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, Alia Shawkat and Tony Hale) were reportedly paid $100,000 each for their Season 4 stand-alone episodes, $50,000 for each installment where they had a little screen time, and another $25,000 for ones where they barely appeared.
It's not bad money, but if the show and Hurwitz are making more from this new recut deal, the stars' reps want the actors to get a cut.
So the actors' reps are asking for added compensation to correspond with the additional episodes. Apparently 20th Century Fox Television has said no. Here are the two arguments, via THR:
Fox argues that it has the right to re-edit the existing episodes that have already aired however it chooses without paying the actors more. The cast position is that the additional episode count effectively reduces the pay-per-episode that was negotiated, especially since the studio stands poised for a financial windfall thanks to a possible syndication pact.
It's an interesting peek behind-the-curtain to see how these deals are made.
If you're interested in going deeper on the personal side, THR has a separate story with Jeffrey Tambor, who plays both George and Oscar Bluth. He talks about his behavior on the set of Amazon's "Transparent," but also briefly discusses "Arrested Development." Apparently he once had a "blowup" with actress Jessica Walter (Lucille Bluth) for which he later "profusely apologized."
"Arrested Development" Season 4 is streaming on Netflix. Season 5 arrives May 29.
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