Top TV producer Ryan Murphy is launching the Ryan Murphy Productions Assistance Fund “to support the exceptional casts and committed crews” of the company’s shows who have been impacted by the ongoing writers and actors strikes. The fund is starting with $500,000.
The Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA will rally on Thursday at Amazon Studio in Culver City to highlight their push a bill that would provide unemployment insurance to striking workers in California. Striking writers and actors in New York and New Jersey are already eligible to receive unemployment benefits after 14 days on the picket line, but not in California.
Blowing through financial reserves, below-the-line union members are concerned about their leverage in upcoming contract talks.
Amid Hollywood’s summer of strikes, the Directors Guild Foundation is pledging $100,000 in financial assistance to the Motion Picture & Television Fund for crew members affected by strike-related production halts. “Our film crews are our work family. We need to help everyone who’s suffering,” said Todd Holland, Directors Guild Foundation film chair.
Trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan have unanimously agreed to a one-calendar-quarter extension of health coverage for certain qualified participants who would otherwise lose coverage on Oct. 1, 2023. The extension accounts for jobs that may have been lost in May and June of this year due to the Writers Guild strike. The WGA has been on strike since May 2, SAG-AFTRA since July 14.
With TV development and production at a standstill amid strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, Labor Day is taking on additional significance as a threshold for the writers work stoppage to end, in order for the networks to air meaningful seasons of their original live-action scripted series of at least 13 episodes, approaches. Crossing it without a deal or significant progress between AMPTP and WGA by October could delay new 2023-24 series’ launch until fall 2024 and put some sophomore shows — even beyond broadcast — in potential danger.
SAG-AFTRA launched its interim agreements program that allows independent productions with no direct ties to members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to continue filming. The guild has been adding to the list of projects granting agreements since soon after it went on strike against the AMPTP after failing to agree on a new film and TV contract. Under the terms, members “may work on these productions without being in violation of the strike order,” per the guild.
The technology for morphing flesh-and-blood performers into virtual avatars has been improving for years. Now it has become an issue in the actors’ strike.
In New York, four picket-line locations were announced. They were at the headquarters of HBO / Amazon, Warner Bros. Discovery / Netflix, Paramount and NBC Universal. In Los Angeles, eight sites were announced, including Warner Bros., Amazon / Culver Studios, Fox, Paramount, Netflix, Sunset / Gower, Disney and Sony.
Actors’ Equity president Kate Shindle is urging stage actors to “proactively and aggressively avoid breaking” the SAG-AFTRA strike by inadvertently accepting struck work. In a message to members of Equity, which reps stage actors and stage managers, Shindle writes, “Know this: the other side will try to pit us against each other to keep churning out content. Don’t fall for it.”
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher will be on the picket lines Friday on the first day of the guild’s strike against the film and television industry. She’ll be joined by Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director and chief negotiator, and members of the guild’s negotiating committee.
Negotiations for a new WGA contract have made “a little bit of progress” on feature films, but otherwise the two sides remain “far away” from a deal. That’s the word coming out of tonight’s WGA strike authorization meeting, which was “very persuasive if you needed persuading,” said a member who attended.
A 24-hour strike at The New York Times, a historic demonstration in which more than 1,100 employees are expected to participate, began Thursday at midnight, after management and the union representing staffers failed to reach an agreement for a new contract.
“If you are working on commercials or for HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, BET or another company that has a contract still in effect – you must keep working,” IATSE informed its members. “You will not be a scab!” (Image: HBO; IATSE; BET)
Leaders of the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, are urging their members to vote “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike against the film and TV industry. The guild’s board, meeting on Tuesday, voted unanimously to recommend that members back the strike authorization after negotiations with the AMPTP for a new Basic Agreement broke down.
The streaming wars have wrought worn-out legions of workers dealing with brutal production schedules, 15-hour workdays, and corner-cutting on meal breaks. And it looks like at least one union has had enough.
IATSE is now gearing up for a second strike against the film and TV industry. With the union and its 13 West Coast studio locals already threatening to strike over terms for a new Hollywood Basic Agreement, IATSE is now seeking a second strike authorization vote for a separate contract covering film and TV work in much of the rest of the country.
IATSE is continuing to prepare its members for a possible strike or a lockout if it can’t make a deal with management’s AMPTP for a new film and TV contract. The union’s current contract was set to expire on July 31, but was extended through Sept. 10, the union says, “in an effort to exhaust every opportunity to make a deal.”
The crew, a mix of ITV America staff and folk from the Warner-owned studio complex, said producers have been “unresponsive” for requests for recognition. Around 10% of staff are striking but production is continuing.
IATSE and The Biggest Loser production company Reveille said Monday that a tentative agreement has been reached between the union and the production company that gives the crew health benefits and ends the strike against the show.