Both groups talk with news blackout

With SAG pushed to the sidelines until the end of the month, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and the majors have held two days of news-free negotiations.

The two sides met for a second day Thursday on AFTRA’s primetime contract and continued to observe a news blackout on their talks at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers. A third day of negotiations is set for today, followed by a break for the weekend.

The AFTRA talks are widely expected to lead to a deal — unlike the Screen Actors Guild’s 18 days of feature-primetime bargaining with the AMPTP. On Wednesday, AFTRA spurned a SAG bid to postpone its negotiations so the guild could continue its talks, which ended as scheduled late Tuesday over SAG’s objections.

SAG, whose talks had been extended twice, has insisted it was within a few hours of reaching a deal, although the congloms insist that wasn’t the case.

AFTRA also nixed on Wednesday a SAG request that the two unions collaborate on the primetime talks. AFTRA split off from joint bargaining with SAG in late March following a series of bitter jurisdictional disputes.

The majors are expecting the AFTRA talks to last two weeks and have offered SAG the chance to resume negotiations on May 28.

Following the end of its talks, SAG attempted to rally its members by stressing that it’s going hold firm against the AMPTP on the issue of new-media uses of clips. SAG has insisted it can’t OK the companies’ proposal that actors waive giving their consent for use of clips while the companies have indicated that obtaining such permission would be too cumbersome to make such a business worthwhile.

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