Negotiations with studios enter third day

The Screen Actors Guild’s third day of negotiations with the majors has launched with no fireworks — even though the two sides were far apart when talks started earlier this week.

Thursday’s talks began at mid-morning at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers in Encino. Despite the absence of a news blackout, both sides have refrained so far from any comment about the negotiations beyond admitting that the talks are going on via jointly issued statements at the end of the day.

SAG’s feature-primetime contract expires June 30.

Informed sources confirmed SAG did not back off its promise to make demands that won’t be granted by the AMPTP, most notably an increase in the DVD residuals and far sweeter new-media terms than those in the DGA and WGA deals.

In informal talks with SAG leaders earlier this month, Disney president Robert Iger and News Corp. president Peter Chernin made it clear to SAG national exec director Doug Allen and SAG president Alan Rosenberg that the majors will only make a deal that’s patterned after the directors’ and writers’ deals.

The key question remains whether SAG leaders will be willing to compromise as talks continue. SAG’s scheduled to meet every day except this Sunday until April 26.

AFTRA is scheduled to begin its talks on its handful of primetime shows on April 28. If SAG hasn’t signed a deal with the AMPTP by then, it’s widely expected that AFTRA will be able to reach an agreement quickly.

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