Carmela Soprano may bake a mean ricotta pie, but it's nothing compared to the pie her husband split with members of the ''Sopranos'' family. According to the Hollywood Reporter, James Gandolfini, who nearly shut down the show this spring in his ultimately successful effort to win a big raise from HBO, distributed $500,000 of his windfall to his castmates, cutting five-figure checks to his costars, including Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, and Tony Sirico.
If the other actors had nursed any hard feelings that Gandolfini's salary ultimatum had nearly cost them their jobs, he must have hoped this gesture would smooth those feelings over. ''It was always part of his plan [during the renegotiations] to share some of the wealth with the other actors,'' a Gandolfini associate told the Reporter. ''He has always called this show an ensemble, from Day 1.''
Gandolfini may have another bonus to distribute next year as well. Though series creator David Chase has said the upcoming fifth season is likely to be the show's last (earlier this week, he added that Season 5 may be expanded from 13 to 19 episodes in order to wrap things up), HBO still has an option to renew the show for a sixth season. That option expired on Tuesday, but according to the Reporter, the actors have agreed to extend the option for another week. Stay tuned.