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Actors, studios reach impasse in talks

No date has been set for resumption of negotiations

Contract talks between studios and actors unions have broken off with no date set for resumption.

A joint statement issued Sunday evening gave no further details about the negotiations, which had gone on for five days after resuming Wednesday following a three-week break.

“The parties have concluded they cannot reach an agreement at this time,” the statement said. “There are no scheduled dates for the resumption of talks.”

The current contract for SAG and AFTRA with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers doesn’t expire until June 30, so there remains nearly six months in which to make a deal without a work stoppage. But the decision to walk away from the table is likely to generate a flurry of production activity in order to stockpile against a possible strike.

The unions and the AMPTP launched the talks Dec. 6 with a news blackout that remains in effect. But knowledgeable sources have said the producers were intractable in their resistance to SAG and AFTRA seeking an increase in the 20-year-old formula for homevideo residuals.

SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert has been low-key about the demands that the actors brought to the table, except for a policy statement to members last fall that expressed the importance of boosting residuals generally, along with improvements in health care contributions and protections for background performers.

SAG and AFTRA had been expected to opt for contracts similar to those reached by DGA and WGA last fall. Those deals included gains about $60 million over three years, with two-thirds of that coming in the form of increased producer contributions to health care.