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Michael Apted, Thomas Schlamme Head Directors Guild Negotiations

The Directors Guild of America has tapped secretary-treasurer Michael Apted and third VP Thomas Schlamme as co-chairs of its negotiating committee for the successor deal to its master contract.

The current deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires on June 30, 2017. No start date has been set for the contract talks, but they are likely to launch before the end of the year.

The AMPTP, which serves as the negotiating arm for the production companies, had no comment.

Apted and Schlamme chaired the committee in 2013 when the current contract was negotiated. The DGA national board approved the appointments at its board meeting on Feb. 7.

“As a key part of our extensive preparation, we have asked two of our most experienced feature and television leaders, Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme, to once again lead our negotiations and serve as co-chairs,” said DGA president Paris Barclay. “Michael and Tommy, who successfully were co-chairs in 2013, have graciously accepted. We are incredibly fortunate to have the benefit of their experience.”

Apted served as the president of DGA for three terms from 2003 to 2009. He’s best known for directing “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and the “Seven Up” documentary series.

“The guild’s hallmark is preparation, and that’s what we have been doing well in advance – working on extensive research, and engaging our members as we determine our key priorities,” said Apted. “As to whether we negotiate this year or next will be determined by both the industry and the guild. Whether it’s sooner or later, we’ll be ready.”

Schlamme, who has won nine Emmys, is best known for his collaboration with Aaron Sorkin on “The West Wing,” “Sports Night” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

“Protecting and extending the creative and economic rights of our members is at the core of what we do,” said Schlamme. “Michael and I will work with members of our negotiations committee, our creative rights committee and our guild’s professional staff as we prepare to secure the best possible outcome on behalf of our members.”

The DGA said it expects to appoint the full negotiations committee later this year. National executive director Jay D. Roth will continue to serve as the DGA chief negotiator.

SAG-AFTRA’s current master contract with the AMPTP also expires on June 30, 2017, while the Writers Guild of America’s deal will expire on May 1, 2017. The WGA usually goes into negotiations after the DGA and SAG-AFTRA have completed their deals.

In the 2013-14 round of negotiations, the DGA announced it had ratified its deal in early January, 2014 — six months before the contract expired. That contract provided for wage increases of 2.5% the first year and 3% for the second and third years; a 0.5% increase in the pension plan with the DGA able to divert that increase to wages in the first year if it chose; residuals also increased 2.5% the first year and went up 3% in the second and third years except for network primetime, which increased by 2% each year.

The pact also included for the first time specific wages, terms and conditions for “high-budget” original and derivative dramatic new media productions made for SVOD.

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