Producers of hit mafia TV show The Sopranos have crushed pay demands from three of its stars - by saying they'd kill their characters off.

Writers had been instructed to 'whack' the parts after actors Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli and Dominic Chianese requested more money following star James Gandolfini's new GBP6.9 million ($11 million) contract.

Gandolfini - who plays mob boss TONY SOPRANO - threatened to quit the show earlier this year (03) after producers refused to accept his demands.

And after his salary increase Edie (CARMELA SOPRANO), Michael (CHRISTOPHER MOLTISANTI), and Dominic (UNCLE JUNIOR), all insisted on a higher pay packet.

But HBO, who make the show, dismissed their requests outright.

An insider tells British tabloid THE NEWS OF THE WORLD, "In true gangster style, they were ready to feed them to the fishes.

"Producers caved in to Gandolfini. But they weren't prepared to buckle to the others."

03/08/2003 13:31