Producers’ orgs ally themselves

Formal affiliation between PGA, AAP imperative, Mount sez

After months of talks, the Producers Guild of America and the American Assn. of Producers have formed a “strategic partnership.”

The affiliation, short of a merger, is intended to “combat the devaluation of the producer’s role and function by broadcast networks and studios and to continue the fight against the proliferation of unjustifiable producer credits,” according to a statement provided Monday to Daily Variety by both outfits.

Neither organization performs collective bargaining chores for its members, although the PGA is contemplating such a role in the future.

The PGA, formed in 1950, has approximately 500 active members and 1,000 affiliated members, primarily in motion pictures. It describes itself as “fighting for and protecting the integrity, credits and creative rights of its members,” who include a large number of high-profile Hollywood producers.

The AAP, founded in 1983, has more than 400 television professionals as members, from production coordinators to exec producers. Each pays $75 a year in membership fees.

“We’re a networking and educational organization,” said AAP’s co-chair, Tim Gibbons. “We offer seminars and networking opportunities to enhance the TV producer’s career. We’re out there to get our members employment.”

Producer’s role devalued

A producer of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” a new Columbia TriStar series set for TBS next year, Gibbons said the producer’s role “has really been devalued in the last few years,” a reference to a common practice of giving producers’ credits to writers, managers, friends of stars and, in at least one case, someone’s chauffeur.

Gibbons’ co-chair, Stephen C. Grossman, is producing the Paramount sitcom “Love and Money.” Other AAP members include Vic Kaplan (“Ellen,” “Roc”), George Sunga (“Three’s Company,” “Smothers Bros. Comedy Hour”), and Gayle Maffeo, a VP at Wind Dancer Prods. Members also include post-production supervisors, associate producers and production managers.

In October, the PGA and AAP formed a committee to explore the possibility of a formal bond. A strategic partnership between the two groups “will allow us to explore new and common interests, as well as legal and legislative support relevant to both the PGA and AAP membership,” Grossman and Gibbons said in a joint statement.

Relationship imperative

“As we continued to raise industry awareness of the issues that are of critical importance to producers, it became obvious that a formal affiliation between the PGA and AAP was imperative,” said PGA president Thom Mount. “An alliance between our two organizations not only increases our presence in terms of size and resources, but it advances our common issues and concerns and strengthens our presence within the Hollywood community.”

A full merger is being studied. In the meantime, the PGA and the AAP will remain separate organizations, ruled under their own by-laws and boards of directors.

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