With just one week to go before production kicks off on the final eight-episode run of The Sopranos, four of the show's stars have been spared a fate of sleeping with the fishes.
Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Melfi), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow), Aida Turturro (Janice) and Robert Iler (Tony Jr.) have all signed new deals to return for the series' last blast with significant per-episode raises, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The quartet was holding out from returning for the Mob drama's swan song until HBO finally made them an offer they couldn't refuse.
For Bracco, who plays Tony Soprano's long suffering therapist, the cable net will cut a check between $220,000-$230,000 per episode; Turturro, who plays Tony's sister, will reportedly pocket between $130,000-$140,000.
As for Tony's onscreen offspring Sigler and Iler, the Reporter pegs their new salaries at $110,000-$120,000 each per episode, marking a significant bump. Last week, the New York Post reported the pair's previous take-home pay was $85,000 a show apiece.
HBO didn't immediately comment on the new deals.
Perhaps the cable net is waiting until all the renegotiating is done, since a few key goodfellas are still holding out.
Steven Schirripa (Bobby Baccala) is apparently close to signing a deal--the Reporter says his contract should be finalized by next week.
That would leave Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante) and Tony Sirico (Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri), who by all accounts have been the most stubborn during the talks with HBO.
Last week, Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini, stepped in to try and mediate a new deal--or at least a little civility--between his onscreen goombahs and the network.
Gandolfini reportedly intervened on the show's behalf, attempting to hold a sit-down to broker a deal. The Hollywood Reporter claims Gandolfini did manage to get Van Zandt and Sirico on the phone over the weekend, but a game of phone tag ensued between the actors' agents and HBO and no headway was made.
Van Zandt and Sirico teamed up to reportedly ask for $200,000 apiece for each of the remaining episodes, a figure they are loath to budge on and one which is, according to various reports, more than double their current salary. The Post reported Van Zandt and Sirico were raking in $80,000 and $85,000, respectively, and that HBO was offering $90,000 each.
It's a high-stakes game of chicken. Their characters' fates could be in the balance since production on the series is rapidly approaching--the first table read is set for July 5.
The final run of episodes is scheduled to air in January 2007.