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Gandolfini, HBO Reportedly Put Happy Ending on 'Sopranos' Saga

The actor and the network agree to drop their contract dispute lawsuits, sources say. The deal clears the way for production to resume.

March 18, 2003|Greg Braxton | Times Staff Writer

"The Sopranos" will continue to sing.

James Gandolfini, the star of HBO's "The Sopranos" who had sued the cable network to get out of his contract in a dispute over his salary, has agreed to drop his lawsuit and go back to work, sources said.

HBO, in turn, will drop its countersuit against the actor, who is expected to return under the terms of his original contract, insiders said.

The settlement clears the way for production of the popular drama's fifth season to resume about a week later than the previously scheduled start date of this coming Monday. That date was postponed indefinitely last week as the legal battle escalated.

Attorneys for Gandolfini and HBO declined to comment. But sources said Gandolfini filed court papers Monday requesting that his lawsuit, which was filed March 7, be dismissed.

The actor decided to back down after a long visit with Brad Grey, one of the show's executive producers, at Grey's Los Angeles home, insiders said.

Grey declined to comment.

But one source close to the negotiations said Gandolfini, a two-time Emmy winner for his portrayal of the burly head of an organized crime family, was relieved that the bitter legal wrangling was finally drawing to a close.

Said another insider: "Temperatures cooled down over the weekend, and there was optimism that it would all be worked out during the next few days."

Still pending is whether the settlement would lead to future contract talks with Gandolfini and a possible raise. The actor had been making $300,000 an episode, sources said.

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