football star Fred Dryer was a team player until he held out for a pay
Big bad Fred Dryer – once a feared
defensive player for the Los Angeles Rams – no longer has a hefty pay
cheque to lug home every week.
Dryer has been sacked from Hunter – now
screening on the Seven Network – after skipping work and holding out
for a more than 100 per cent salary increase – from $21,175 to $50,000
But Dryer, 40, is no Don Johnson. (The Miami Vice star had his weekly pay doubled recently
after making a similar fuss.)
Hunter’s producers refused to meet
Dryer’s demands and hit him with a $20 million dollar breach of
contract lawsuit, which has gone to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The producers dropped Dryer in favor of
strapping Joe Cortese, 36, who will join the show as either Hunter’s
half-brother or cousin from New York.
There is, however, still a possibility that
Dryer will continue in the role of Rick Hunter – if the series’
producers can get him back on their terms.
is something of a ploy on their part, and Joe Cortese knows that,”
says a source on the Hunter set. “But
he’s also a very good professional actor who will get paid under his
contract no matter what happens.”
Cortese has been acting for 15 years.
He has appeared in the TV movie The Brothers-in-Law and the
feature film Monsignor, opposite Christopher Reeve.
He will get $30,000 a week for the series
– almost 50 per cent more than Dryer.
The series’ writers have to come up
quickly with a means of dropping Dryer and bringing in Cortese.
to the Hunter source, the most likely scenario finds the new Cortese
character arriving from New York and working on a case Los Angeles.
Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie
Kramer) either runs into Cortese or calls him to help her on a case
because she can’t reach Hunter.
Together, they go to
Hunter’s apartment and find it splattered with blood with no Rick in
sight. While trying to
learn happened, they find out they work well together.
They probably won’t find a dead Hunter, though, so the door is
left open for Dryer to return to the show.
Stepfanie and Joe have
met and talked and they’re both excited about working with the other,
although Fred Dryer was very popular on the set and got along with
everyone,” says the source.
“There will be more
humor between their two characters than there was with Dee Dee and Rick.
There will be more funny situations that pit his New Yorkish
background against her relaxed California lifestyle.”
Dryer has always gone his
own way, as he explained in an interview last year.
“My father wouldn’t be clear with me.
He was always telling me what to do,” he said.
“I didn’t like it
from him. I didn’t like
from coaches or owners and I don’t like it from anyone now.”
Not that Dryer has been
an anarchist on the set before – although some people may have
As Hunter creator and
co-executive producer Frank Lupo said: “Fred’s reputation was all
over the place coming in. There were nervous chuckles and ‘Boy, what are we going to
run into with this guy?’
“But in starting a new
series where you don’t get needed rehearsal time, the scripts are
late, and the brunt falls on the principal actors, Fred’s been a team
player all the way.”
Until now, that is.