There won't be a need for any premature whacking of characters when "The Sopranos" returns next year for its final eight episodes.
After lengthy and acrimonious negotiations, Tony Sirico and Steven Van Zandt -- the last key actors without new deals -- reached an agreement with HBO on Friday to continue on the Emmy-winning series.
Under the new pact, Sirico and Van Zandt will be paid more than double their most recent per-episode fee of $75,000, sources said.
In a widely publicized salary dispute, Sirico and Van Zandt, who play iconic characters Paulie Walnuts and Silvio Dante, respectively, for months refused to budge from their $200,000 per-episode asking price. That was more than any other cast member -- except for stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco -- had made on the show and miles apart from HBO's initial offer of a 10% raise.
After numerous rounds of negotiations, less than a week before "Sopranos" was slated to go back into production, Sirico and Van Zandt finally received an offer they couldn't refuse.
After a series of down-to-the-wire deals for all "Sopranos" supporting actors, the entire cast of David Chase's groundbreaking series is expected to convene for a table read Thursday, when production on the final episodes of the show is slated to begin.
Sirico is managed by Bob McGowan of McGowan Management and attorney Roger Haber.
Van Zandt also was repped during the negotiations by McGowan. His deal was brokered by attorney Howard Siegel.
Nellie Andreeva writes for The Hollywood Reporter.
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