Screen Actors Guild avoids strike as contract negotiations are extended to July 12


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hollywood actors may be just days away from joining screenwriters This would be the first strike by two unions in the industry in more than six decades, with dire consequences for film and television production. Here’s a look at how it might turn out and why it’s happening.

What happens to the actors’ negotiations?

The contract between Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Radio and Television Artists and the studios, streaming services, and production companies that employ them were scheduled to phase out by midnight Pacific time on Friday night. But hours earlier, both sides said they had agreed to extend the current contract and talks on the next deal until July 12. unionized Actors voted overwhelmingly to authorize their leaders to call a strike if no agreement is reached. In 2014 and 2017, too, talks went beyond the deadline and agreements were reached on both occasions.

The talks were reportedly productive. However, some actors have expressed concern that their leaders may not be applying enough pressure. More than 1,000 of them, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Bob Odenkirk, have put their names in a letter to negotiators expressing their willingness to strike and fearing they are “willing to make sacrifices which the leadership does not bring”. The letter states, “This is not a moment to meet in the middle.”

Led by President and former “Nanny” star Fran Drescher, the guild represents over 160,000 film actors, stunt performers, broadcast journalists, announcers and presenters, but only actors working on TV shows and films would be involved in a strike.


Lots of the same problems drove writers to strike are on the table for actors, including the shrinking rewards that guilds say are caused by a streaming ecosystem where royalties are no longer linked to the popularity of a film or television show. A role or screenwriter on a hit show that has had a long run in reruns isn’t the cash cow it once was. And the unions say inflation is exceeding wage increases envisaged in their collective agreements.

For both screenwriters and artists, the shift to streaming and the associated impact also meant shorter show seasons with longer breaks in between, and therefore less work.

And like the writers, the actors fear the threat unregulated use of artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA said in a memo to members that AI’s growing ability to replicate the performance of its members is “a real and imminent threat” that it wants to counter.

One of the particular problems for actors is the new and increasing burden of self-taped auditions – the cost of which used to be the responsibility of casting and productions.

Have Hollywood actors ever gone on strike?

Film and television actors last went on strike for three months in 1980, although actors in television commercials have struck twice since. Overall, they had far more industrial peace than screenwriters, whose work stoppages were far more common. That includes the current standoff, where 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike for nearly two months with no end in sight.

In 1960, the Actors’ Union, led by then-SAG President and later US President Ronald Reagan, went on strike for six weeks that fell in the middle of a five-month writers’ strike, the only time two major Hollywood unions had walked out of work simultaneously.

Actors have shown widespread support for striking writers, and many have joined them on picket lines in an act of hitherto symbolic solidarity.

What effect would the combined attacks have on viewers?

The writers’ strike had one almost immediate effect on late-night talk shows including NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” all of which were immediately discontinued. “Saturday Night Live” canceled the last three episodes of the season.

In the two months since, many scripted television series have also been canceled, including Netflix’s Stranger Things, Max’s Hacks, Showtime’s Yellow Jackets, and Apple TV+’s Severance. Some films have also reportedly been paused.

Actors joining writers would force just about every other show or movie not yet made into a similar abandonment. Upcoming seasons of TV shows would be delayed indefinitely and film releases would be pushed back.

The streaming menus on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video won’t show any immediate differences, although fans of those channels’ original series might have to wait longer for their favorites to return.

Exceptions are productions that take place outside the USA. And reality shows, game shows, and most daytime talk shows probably won’t be affected.

The two strikes also cast doubt on the viability of the deal Emmy Awardswhose nominations are expected to be announced on July 12 before a ceremony in September Tony Awards And BET Awards managed to continue the shows despite the writers’ strike.

What happens to the authors?

The writers strike has seen ongoing pickets and some big rallies for two months but no movement so far. No negotiations are currently taking place between the strikers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streamers and production companies in all industry union negotiations. The longest writers’ strike of all time lasted five months in 1988.

Aside from the problems they share with actors, one of the biggest concerns for writers is the shrinking staffs used on shows, which they call “mini-rooms.” They meant a lot less work and far fewer guarantees of future work.

The AMPTP says the authors’ demands would require them to be kept on staff and paid if there is no work for them. The group also said they have offered generous pay rises.

Negotiations between the two sides had diverged so far that talks were broken off hours before the contract expired. It remains to be seen whether a different result can be achieved with the actors in the coming days.

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