I'm now accepting bets on whether the final "season" of The Sopranos will still air in January. It seems that "Little Stevie" Van Zandt and Tony Sirico--who play Silvio and Paulie on the show--only signed their contracts last Friday. They had been holding out for more pay, and will now be making nearly $150,000 per episode.
The show has always been notoriously slow to go on the air, sometimes taking as long as two years off between seasons. This latest development means that production will only begin today on those last eight episodes. While HBO hasn't said so, I'm guessing they won't be on the air till sometime next spring.
Sirico can't be blamed for asking for more money. He has nothing else to fall back on, unless he were to start busting kneecaps in real life. And Van Zandt used to have that gig with the E Street Band, but Springsteen's gone off on a Pete Seger kick this summer. That means that Little Stevie's been sitting around at home with nothing to do as well since there's not a whole lot of call for hot electric guitar licks in a folk music band.
Oh, and Tony Soprano himself? Well, James Gandolfini will be making a cool one million per episode. Not that I'm complaining, of course. I don't want to end up in the trunk of Silvio's car.