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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Strike talks break off between Hollywood actors and studios

The studios announced that they had suspended contract negotiations, saying the gap between the two sides was too great to make continuing worth it

AP Published 12.10.23, 02:51 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File

Talks have broken off between Hollywood actors and studios, killing any hopes that the strike by performers was coming to an end after nearly three months, as the writers strike recently did.

The studios announced that they had suspended contract negotiations late Wednesday night, saying the gap between the two sides was too great to make continuing worth it.

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On October 2, for the first time since the strike began July 14, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) had resumed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents studios, streaming services and production companies in strike talks.

When negotiations resumed with writers last month, their strike ended five days later, but similar progress was not made with the actors union.

The studios walked away from talks after seeing the actors' most recent proposal on Wednesday.

“It is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” the AMPTP said in a statement.

The SAG-AFTRA proposal would cost companies an additional USD 800 million a year and create “an untenable economic burden”, the statement said.

Representatives from the actors union did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Actors have been on strike over issues including increases in pay for streaming programming and control of the use of their images generated by artificial intelligence.

The AMPTP insisted its offers had been as generous as the deals that brought an end to the writers strike and brought a new contract to the directors guild earlier this year.

From the start, the actors talks had nothing like the momentum that spurred marathon night-and-weekend sessions in the writers strike and brought that work stoppage to an end.

Actors and studios had taken several days off after resuming, and there were no reports of meaningful progress despite direct involvement from the heads of studios including Disney and Netflix as there had been in the writers strike.

Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted almost unanimously to ratify their new contract on Monday.

Their leaders touted their deal as achieving most of what they had sought when they went on strike nearly five months earlier.

They declared their strike over, and sent writers back to work, on September 26.

Late night talk shows returned to the air within a week, and other shows including “Saturday Night Live” will soon follow.

But with no actors, production on scripted shows and movies will stay on pause indefinitely.

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