It's back to business as usual in Hollywood.
After a year of fear and rushed production, actors, writers and studios are now on the same page and the threat of crippling strikes on the television and film fronts have been avoided for at least another three years. Two months after the Writers Guild of America agreed to a new tentative contract with Hollywood's top studios and networks, the 135,000-member Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists followed suit with a new agreement signed on the eve of Fourth of July.
Similar to WGA's new three-year pact, SAG-AFTRA members hammered out a deal that will bring them better pay for syndication airings on cable and elsewhere, increased payments for work done on Fox and pay hikes for actors making guest star appearances.
Overall, actors will receive a 3% raise in minimum payments for TV work for the first two years of the contract and 3.5% for the final year. A number of the complex new media issues between the two sides were put off until the next contract comes up in 2004. The contract between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was up July 1 and the two sides negotiated nearly around the clock in an effort to reach an agreement. The three-year deal now has to pass the SAG-AFTRA Board of Directors and then members via a ballot mail referendum.
SAG President William Daniels said, "I've been saying since last October that there was a deal to be made in regard to this contract and I'm delighted that both sides have conducted these talks in the positive spirit of problem-solving and reaching an accord that's equitable for both sides." - Joe Schlosser