The only thing better than payback is back pay, and that’s exactly what the stars of Arrested Development are getting.
Following a report published by The Hollywood Reporter, which detailed that the Arrested Development cast wasn’t too pleased with the “remixed” version of season 4 that was released on Netflix in early May, the outlet has confirmed that 20th Century Fox Television will pay the actors for seven additional episodes. Stars Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, David Cross, and Michael Cera, among others, are to “receive additional compensation based on the sliding scale that was used to determine their original season 4 salaries.”
The stars’ complaints came about after Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz and 20th Century Fox Television reworked the 15-episode fourth season of the dysfunctional family comedy into a full 22-episode turn. This was done in efforts to spark up excitement for season 5, to lure new viewers in, and to aid the series in landing a syndication deal down the line.
“The original season 4 of Arrested Development on Netflix, as some of you know, experimented with a Rashomon-style of storytelling — with each episode dedicated to the adventure of one member of the Bluth family,” Hurwitz wrote in an open letter posted to social media. “The goal was that, by the end of the season, a unified story of cause and effect would emerge for the viewer — full of surprises about how the Bluths were responsible for most of the misery they had endured.”
Hurwitz continued, explaining how he arrived at the idea for the revamped fourth season, formally titled Arrested Development Season 4 Remix: Fateful Consequences. “In between season 4 and this upcoming season 5, I had time to take that Rashomon-type story and recut it — shuffling the content from 15 individualized stories into 22 interwoven stories the length of the original series — as an experiment to find out, well … I guess ‘if I could make some money,'” he stated. “I mean, who am I kidding? I want this thing to syndicate eventually.”
Though Hurwitz is reaping the benefits of remixing season 4, the cast isn’t — until now, that is. At the time of the announcement, the majority of the cast — also including Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, Alia Shawkat, and Tony Hale — was pulling in $100,000 for their solo season 4 episodes, $50,000 for each episode in which they had limited screen time, and $25,000 for the installments they “barely” appeared in. With seven additional episodes resulting from the modified season 4, the stars could be missing out on a sizable chunk of cash.
Representatives for the cast requested the stars be paid appropriate additional fees to correspond with the extra episodes, but 20th Century Fox Television initially denied the appeal, arguing that it reserved the right to air re-cut episodes that have already aired without compensating actors. The company later changed its position.