I hope the new contract ensures that the new season has to be better than that last season. Man did that suck!

Gandolfini, HBO End ‘Sopranos’ Contract Dispute
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – After two weeks of contract wrangling, HBO finally made actor James Gandolfini an offer he couldn’t refuse to appear as mob boss Tony Soprano for a fifth season on the hit show “The Sopranos,” spokesmen for both sides said on Wednesday.
Production on the show will now start the first week of April in New York, after being delayed from its original March 24 start due to the dispute, an HBO spokeswoman said.
Financial details were undisclosed, but Gandolfini has agreed to work for the time being under the terms of his existing contract, both sides said.
The bitter contract battle threatened to cost HBO and its beleaguered parent company AOL Time Warner dearly if the show had failed to come back on air.
In a lawsuit, HBO had said that if the show went off air for two seasons, it would cost the network $100 million — a loss AOL can ill afford at a time when its online unit has weighed heavily on corporate profits.
Perhaps more important is that “The Sopranos” had become a lure that HBO used to pull in subscribers seeking adult-oriented fare the cable TV network can show but broadcast networks can’t.
Gandolfini “feels good” about returning to the show that transformed him from an obscure New York stage actor to a national sensation during its critically acclaimed run, his spokesman Dan Klores said.
HBO official also expressed relief at the end of the unexpectedly bitter stand-off, which threatened to leave the subscription cable network without its signature show and 300 crew and cast members out of work.
“We’re delighted that the great Jim Gandolfini will be back at work in the role he has created with such distinction,” HBO chairman Chris Albrecht said in a statement.
The network has tacitly agreed to adjust Gandolfini’s salary upward after tempers have cooled and production is under way, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
The actor and the cable network, a division of AOL Time Warner Inc., had been locked in a legal battle over Gandolfini’s salary demands since March 6.
The 41-year-old actor wanted $16 million for the 13-episode season, and HBO wanted to pay him no more than $11 million, industry sources said. He now earns $300,000 per episode, or about $5 million for the season.
After his salary demand was rebuffed, Gandolfini sued HBO in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to be released from his pact with the network, which had two optional years remaining.
HBO countersued three days later. The show’s executive producer, Brad Gray of Brillstein-Gray Entertainment, broke the “ego-fueled” stalemate during weekend talks with Gandolfini at his Los Angeles home, sources said.
On Monday, Gandolfini agreed to drop his lawsuit and honor the terms of his original contract. After receiving proof the lawsuit had been dismissed and a signed statement from Gandolfini that he would come back to work, HBO filed paperwork on Wednesday to dismiss its own legal action.