- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

Sopranos’ payoff

Tony Soprano’s children live large on-screen, and soon they may do the same in real life.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who plays Tony’s Ivy League-educated daughter, and her small-screen sibling, Robert Iler, are close to signing for more than $100,000 per episode for the final eight installments of HBO’s acclaimed mob drama, the New York Daily News reports. That gives the pair about $15,000 more per episode than last season.

The salary news regarding other “Sopranos” cast members is less clear.

Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie Walnuts, and Steven Van Zandt, who portrays Silvio, are “not even close,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.

The men, who are negotiating their final salaries as a team, want their pay to increase to $200,000 a show. Currently, Mr. Sirico is at $85,000 and Mr. Van Zandt is earning $80,000. HBO brass tried to offer them $90,000 a show but then increased it to $115,000. That’s where the discussions are stuck, the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

Lorraine Bracco, who plays Tony’s psychiatrist, is still negotiating her salary, and Steven Schirripa — who plays Bobby Bacala, Tony’s brother-in-law — has yet to ink a deal.

‘Futurama’ returns

“Futurama” — like the dead celebrities whose heads floated in glass jars on the animated sci-fi show — is being resurrected. The series, developed by “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, aired its final original episode in 2003. Now, according to Zap2It.com, Comedy Central will run at least 13 new episodes starting in 2008. That’s also when reruns of the series move there from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Comedy Central reportedly paid $30 million for the rerun rights, Zap2it.com reports.

“Futurama” is the second cancelled Fox cartoon series brought back to life since the network began airing new episodes of “Family Guy” last year. “There is a deep and passionate fan base for this intelligent and very funny show that matches perfectly with our audience, and it is great that we can offer them not just the existing library but something they’ve never seen as well,” said David Bernath, Comedy Central’s senior vice president of programming.

Pondering ‘24’

Fox TV’s “24” may take place during real time, but it’s no reality show. At least that’s what Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at a Heritage Foundation event titled “‘24’ and America’s Image in Fighting Terrorism.” The panel consisted of pundits and players, Associated Press reports, including Mr. Chertoff, radio personality Rush Limbaugh, three of the show’s actors, and its creators. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas watched from the front row.

Mr. Chertoff said his department doesn’t have a “24”-like Counter Terrorist Unit that nabs villains by the hour. Neither is it plagued by romantic entanglements among employees. The secretary did admit one parallel, however: The show deals with cases “where there is no clear magic bullet to solve the problem, and you have to weigh the cost benefits of a series of unpalatable alternatives. … This is what we do every day.”

However, not everyone thought the show merited such deep analysis. “I got into acting to avoid politics and so I can remain in a fantasy world,” said Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays computer geek Chloe O’Brian on the show.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Christian Toto from web and wire reports.

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