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Just when you thought it was safe to get excited about Fall TV

June 30, 2008

As writers return to begin working after a 100-day strike that shortened many of our favorite shows (The Office) and may have ruined a few (Heroes), it looks as though there’s a chance that actors may be on their way out to the picket lines.

Negotiations continue between the Screen Actors Guild of America and the major networks and studios on a new contract as the old contract nears its 12:01 a.m. Tuesday expiration date.

What makes this situation very unique and frankly interesting is that not all actors are members of the Screen Actors Guild, as was seemingly the case when the WGA went on strike late last year. While it represents the overriding majority of working actors, many A-list actors belong to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It should be noted that 44,000 actors belong to both groups.

The AFTRA’s membership is set to vote to ratify a newly brokered deal it reached with the networks, a deal SAG has actively campaigned against.

Also thrown into the mix are all of the other guilds that were adversely affected by the 100-day WGA strike and fear the reprecussions of yet another lengthy labor dispute.

The national president of the International Cinematographers Guild was quoted in the Hollywood Reporter as writing in a letter to his members:

“This movie has to end soon,” he added. “The paltry gains for which SAG continues to fight do not justify the pain a strike or continued slowdown will bring to those who work in this industry, who fight to pay their mortgages, feed their families and keep their health coverage intact.”

As of now, SAG has not sought a strike authorization from its members and the studios have not locked out the actors but with less than 24 hours before their deal expires, things could, once again, get very interesting in Hollywood.

Stay tuned.

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