Studios, AFTRA continue negotiations

SAG talks to resume soon

With the resumption of SAG negotiations looming, the American Federation of Television & Radio Arists and the majors have continued to move forward toward a primetime deal.

“We’re making progress — and the negotiating committee will be providing you with an update very soon,” AFTRA president Roberta Reardon said in a message sent Thursday to the union’s members.

Reardon, citing the news blackout, gave no other details, but negotiators may work through the weekend. AFTRA and the congloms will hold their eighth day of talks today at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers in Encino.

AFTRA covers shows including “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Reaper,” “Cashmere Mafia” and ” ‘Til Death.”

Reardon’s announcement came a day after SAG agreed to accept the AMPTP’s invite to resume its feature-primetime talks no later than May 28. A primary focus of the AFTRA negotiations has been issues of new-media compensation.

The AMPTP has noted repeatedly that it’s reached three deals this year with expanded new-media coverage: the DGA deal in January, the WGA deal in February and the AFTRA network code deal in March. The latter two deals largely mirrored the new-media terms and conditions of the DGA pact.

SAG’s contract talks recessed May 6 after the majors insisted they were obligated to launch the twice-delayed negotiations with AFTRA the next day.

Both the SAG and AFTRA contracts expire June 30, but AFTRA is viewed as much more likely to make a deal given its leaders’ emphasis on pragmatism. By contrast, SAG’s strong support for the WGA strike and the more assertive stance of its leaders has left Hollywood in the throes of uncertainty over a possible second strike — leading to studios refusing to greenlight features until a new SAG deal’s in hand.

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