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SAG seeks agent deal

Allen hopes to negotiate new pact with ATA

SAG’s topper has proclaimed that he wants an agent deal in place by the end of the year.

Doug Allen, the guild’s national exec director, told about 75 members Tuesday night that he’s determined that SAG re-establish its franchise agreement over Hollywood agents, under which SAG members could only employ franchised agents. SAG hasn’t regulated the more than 100 agencies repped by the Assn. of Talent Agents and the Natl. Assn. of Talent Representatives since 2002.

Allen’s disclosure came as part of a presentation at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, the sixth in a SAG “road show” for members to spell out how the guild may resurrect its fractured partnership with tenpercenters.

Allen expressed hope Tuesday that he’d be able to negotiate a new deal with the ATA, though no talks have been scheduled. Such a step would require the approval of the national board, which is scheduled to meet next in mid-July.

Tuesday’s event, which included an introduction by SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg, included discussion about the possibility of boosting the agents’ commission structure along with concerns about the potential conflict of interest in agencies assisting with production financing.

Allen was hired last fall in a unanimous vote by the national board, which strongly indicated it wanted the agency agreement sorted out. He came to the job with an extensive background dealing with agents during two decades as the No. 2 exec at the NFL Players Assn.

SAG surrendered oversight of major agents in April 2002, when its 63-year-old franchise agreement lapsed after members voted down a proposed revamp of that pact. The no vote stemmed from concerns that eased ownership rules would lead to possible conflicts of interest.

Since then, agents have been able to sign guild members to less restrictive General Service Agreements that allow bigger commissions than the standard 10% and allow commissioning of supplemental revenues. More than 6,500 SAG members have signed such deals since 2002.

Many smaller agencies still adhere to the SAG franchise rules, but most major agencies — repped through the ATA — do not. That leaves the state of California as the sole overseer of the agency biz through the state labor commissioner.

ATA topper Karen Stuart wasn’t available for comment Wednesday.

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