ATLANTA — Tension on the set of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns escalated to a cast walk-out Tuesday, reports Deadline.com entertainment writer Nikki Finke. The adult actors on the TBS sitcom, currently airing its fifth season, are in contract negotiations for a sixth season and beyond. The show is currently on hiatus.
Stars Denise Boutte (Sasha Brown) and Tamela Mann (Cora Simmons) are suing Tyler Perry Studios to void their contracts to negotiate a raise and suitable working conditions. The actors seek to triple their salaries to $1,000 per episode, along with dressing rooms for cast regulars and a fully-stocked craft service table. Co-stars Tony Vaughn (Colonel), Antonio Jaramillo (Jesus Hernandez) and Jeanette Sousa (Carmen Martinez) have joined the suit for similar salary bumps and upgrades to “series actors.” Insiders say that the demands are “beyond belief and reality.”
David Mann (Leroy Brown), a name long missing from the one-day strike, has joined the cast in negotiations for solidarity. The fictional patriarch is rumored to make more money than the rest of the cast and negotiates separately. He is voiding his contract to bargain for separate matters, which include “a working dressing room door” and “clothes not made in the ’70s,” according to Finke.
Hollywood speculates that the Browns cast were inspired to re-up after the tense negotiations between the stars of Modern Family and 20th Century Fox netted more than $150,000 per episode for their fourth season. Alphonse Boutte, Denise Boutte’s brother-in-law and agent, took out a one-page ad Tuesday in The Hollyblack Blackporter trade magazine with one word: “SHIT.”
Cast members from other Tyler Perry Studios shows, including For Better or Worse and new productions Why Did I Get Knocked Up? (a spin-off of the Why Did I Get Married? movies) and Madea Prays the Gay Away, are eyeing the stand-off for future negotiations.
Representatives from Tyler Perry Studios could not be reached for comment.