Producers, Actors Still At Odds As Production Shutdown Looms

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After 13 days of negotiations, there are still "significant gaps" between proposals by producers and contract concessions sought by Hollywood's actors, raising the specter of yet another production shutdown.

An update on the contract talks issued by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to its member companies Wednesday does not bode well for a contract resolution with the Screen Actors Guild by the May 2 target date.

According to the AMPTP, SAG initially rejected the new media contract terms that have already been accepted by union writers and directors. Those terms dictate how much money the other union members will get when TV fare moves to the Internet.

Then, the actors union indicated it would work within the new media framework, but only with 70 changes. But this concession, according to the AMPTP, was contingent on the producers accepting all SAG's demands for changes in traditional media areas.

Those concessions include a doubling of the existing formula for compensating actors for DVD sales and “huge increases in compensation and benefits,” according to the AMPTP. The latter would result in “enormous cost increases that we are not willing to accept…we cannot responsibly accept the unprecedented, double-digit increases in DVD residuals and conditions being sought by SAG, or wage hikes that in some cases reach 200%. As a result, we have made little progress in narrowing the significant differences with SAG on these critical traditional media issues."

The notice said that there are still two days of negotiating scheduled and that AMPTP negotiators will works as hard as they can to find a "mutually acceptable resolutions."

But producers are scheduled to open talks with another union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, on Monday, the the AMPTP notice said the group is prepared to begin those talks on time.

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