Is HBO about to whack Silvio and Paulie?

The guy can’t catch a break. Once again, Tony Soprano has to step in to mediate a financial dispute between two bickering crews. Apparently, “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini plans to spend the weekend helping to end the standoff between Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico and the guys who write the paychecks at HBO.

Much like Gandolfini’s previous salary disputes with the cable behemoth, Van Zandt and Sirico are holding out for a substantial raise, to some $200,000 an episode for the final eight episodes before the show takes the big dirt nap next year. img_screensaver_252.jpg

It seems obvious to us that HBO has the upper hand here. With the show’s finale already on the horizon, two weeks to go until the first read-through, and most of the essential principals–Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, and the big man himself, Gandolfini–already on board, what’s to stop the writers from turning Silvio and Paulie into casualties of the brewing war with Phil Leotardo?

We all know it: someone’s gotta die. As Tony might say, whattayagonnado?