Network code contract covers programming other than sitcoms, primetime dramas

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists will launch contract talks Monday with the Big Four broadcast nets and other producers for a successor agreement to its network code contract.

AFTRA announced Thursday that the negotiations will be held at the offices of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in Sherman Oaks, with bargaining scheduled to continue through Dec. 18.

The “net code,” which was extended by a year in June 2010, is scheduled to expire on Nov. 15 but will be extended on a day-to-day basis for the duration of negotiations.

The net code generates more than $300 million a year in member earnings and covers programming outside primetime drama and sitcoms including dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest and sports. Current programs covered include: “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Price is Right,” “General Hospital,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “20/20,” “Deal or No Deal” and “Late Show with David Letterman.”

The Screen Actors Guild covers most primetime programs though AFTRA’s been able to sign the lion’s share of new series to AFTRA deals.

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon will chair the 25-member negotiating committee. AFTRA national exec director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth will serve as chief negotiator.

AFTRA also said a press blackout will remain in effect for the duration of negotiations.

AFTRA also announced that it is in talks with representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement to its sound recordings contract, which expires at the end of the year. The union on Oct. 7 revealed that members had approved a strike authorization for negotiators in those contract talks.

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