SAG, Producers Reach Tentative Agreement on Labor Deal

Actors Said to Get Sought-After Two-Year Contract

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Hollywood's largest actors union, the Screen Actors Guild, and Tinsteltown's TV and film producers jointly announced a tentative agreement on their labor pact covering TV shows and motion pictures that had expired none months ago.

Less clear are the terms and scope of the proposed deal, which will not be formally disclosed until their review by SAG's national board April 19, when it will be submitted for board approval and referral to the membership for ratification.

However, insiders familiar with the terms of the nascent deal said that actors had sought and received a crucial concession from producers: Namely, that the new SAG contract will span only two years, instead of the usual three. The actors had been seeking to align their contract's expiration with that of the Writers Guild of America's, in the hopes of gaining greater leverage over Hollywood's TV networks and studios.

A new agreement can't come soon enough: Independent features have become all but impossible to insure in light of the labor uncertainty, and studio feature-film production in Los Angeles has ground to a near-halt as movie moguls await clarity from thespians. SAG has also lost considerable influence over prime-time TV due to its intransigence with producers: Fully 95% of all TV pilots ordered by TV networks for next fall were shot on contracts from Hollywood's other actors union, thr American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, instead of the usually more-favorable (to actors) SAG deals.

Spokesmen for SAG and the Alliane of Motion Picture and Television Producers declined to comment beyond their joint statement announcing the tentative deal.

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