Cast members Mila Kunis (Jackie), Danny Masterson (Hyde), Laura Prepon (Donna) and Wilmer Valderrama (Fez) have agreed to keep slacking in the basement for a couple more years, signing six-figure contract extensions that will keep Fox's nostalgia comedy grooving through May 2005, according to Daily Variety.
The foursome pulled a Friends and negotiated en masse with the show's independent producer, Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, allowing them to maximize their paychecks. The actors had reportedly been raking in mid-five figures each per episode and will now snag salaries more than double that, estimated to top $100,000 an episode.
Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp--the sitcom's authoritarian father Red and ditzy wife Kitty, respectively--have also reupped through the 2004-05 seventh season.
But two key cast members still haven't inked new deals: Topher Grace (Eric) and Ashton Kutcher (Kelso). According to Variety, the two actors' reps are brokering separate deals for Grace and Kutcher (both of whom have forged successful film careers) and talks with Carsey have reportedly been amicable.
While Fox has only publicly extended That '70s Show through 2003, sources close to the negotiations confirm the network has locked up the show through May 2004--a feat trickier than Twister considering the young stars' movie aspirations.
During the show's hiatuses, all the cast members have branched into film. Most recently, Prepon popped up in theaters in Slackers, Masterson appeared in Dracula 2000, Kunis in Get Over It and Valderrama in the forthcoming Party Monster.
Making the biggest splash on the big screen so far, though, have been Grace, who had a significant role in Traffic, and Kutcher, who's doing a sequel to his 2000 teen hit Dude, Where's My Car? (the follow-up is titled Seriously, Dude, Where's My Car?).
That '70s Show debuted in 1998 and celebrated its 100th episode in March. The sitcom has become a tent pole in the network's Tuesday night lineup, scoring particularly well in the 18-49 demo last season. In three airings this season, the show has averaged 8.8 million viewers.
That '70s Show recently entered syndication and currently ranks second among the four new comedy series that premiered this fall.
With the new extension, the show, now set in the closing years of the '70s, will need to slow down time to avoid becoming another That '80s Show. The latter, a Carsey-Werner-Mandabach-produced spinoff satirizing the Reagan era and debuting last season, failed to repeat the success of That '70s Show and was axed.