SAG, studios keep mum on progress

Negotiations will resume on Monday

SAG and the majors have completed a fifth day of negotiations while keeping a lid on whether any progress has been achieved.

The guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers made a joint announcement early Saturday afternoon that talks had recessed for the day and would resume Monday.

As with the previous end-of-the-day announcments, no further details were provided. But negotiators have indicated in private conversations that the sessions have been cordial with most of the focus on new-media compensation — an area that dominated the negotiations on DGA and WGA contracts earlier this year.

The Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP have already agreed to meet every day starting Monday through next Saturday. SAG’s under pressure to finish off a deal by then since AFTRA’s scheduled to start talks on its handful of primetime shows on April 28.

If SAG doesn’t have a deal at that point and AFTRA makes one, it could open the door for AFTRA to expand its coverage in areas of shared jurisdiction. AFTRA split off from SAG in late March, asserting it could no longer trust SAG leaders.

The two performers unions have long been at odds over jurisdiction and strategy with SAG blasting AFTRA for signing deals in cable at lower initial terms and AFTRA blasting SAG over being less flexible in its approach.

Worries about a possible SAG strike have led to studios stockpiling and ramping up production activity in recent months while backing off on setting any starts for features that can’t be completed by June 30 — the expiration of the current contract. The pact also covers priemtime TV work.

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