Craig T. Nelson Admits Passing On ‘Modern Family’ Over Money: ‘I Felt Disrespected’

Ed O’Neill is enjoying a pop culture renaissance thanks to his role as curmudgeonly family patriarch Jay on ABC’s critically acclaimed hit “Modern Family.”

A similar career renaissance has been taking place at the same time for Craig T. Nelson, who has perfectly portrayed war vet grandpa Zeek Braverman on NBC’s hit drama “Parenthood.”

As it turns out, there was just one small thing that almost prevented both veteran actors from ever stepping into their respective roles – the size of the paycheck.

In a new interview with Access Hollywood Live’s Billy Bush and Kit Hoover Wednesday morning, Craig confirmed that he was offered the role of Jay on “Modern Family” prior to landing his “Parenthood” gig, but passed because of the money being offered – or, the lack thereof.

“Did you turn it down because you had ‘Parenthood’?” Billy asked Craig of the “Modern Family” role.

“No,” the star replied.

“Why did you turn it down?” Billy followed.

“Money,” Craig revealed.

“More money on ‘Parenthood’?” Kit inquired.

“Uh huh,” the actor said with a smile.

In fact, Craig – who most TV fans remember for his stint on the long-running ABC sitcom “Coach” in the ‘90s and currently stars in the film “The Company Men” — said he really liked the part of Jay and the concept of what would come to be ABC’s Emmy-winning show.

“I’m old enough to say it, I guess. That was it,” Craig said of the money offered. “I really wanted to do ‘Modern Family’ and I really liked the script and I liked the people. I just said, ‘You know what? I’ve been doing this too long.’ We’re in the middle of a cutback here, ladies and gentlemen, in Hollywood and salaries have gone way, way down.

“I just felt disrespected to tell you the truth,” he added.

Safe to say, it worked out just fine for all sides involved, and Craig couldn’t be happier with how it all played out.

“Look, I’m blessed. Come on. You turn down ‘Modern Family’ and you get this script,” he beamed over landing “Parenthood” (which returns with new episodes on February 1) shortly thereafter.

“Did you end up with the right role?” Billy asked.

“I did. I really like it because it’s building and it wasn’t a hit out of the box, and for me, that ensemble, that group of people, those kids are so incredible,” he explained. “I love going to work.”

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