Actors strike puts Argentine shows on hold


BUENOS AIRES -- Actors in Argentina are on strike, demanding a shorter workday. The strike has halted production of all fiction television series and is threatening to keep the shows off the air for the rest of the year.

Production of fiction programming stopped Friday, and the series have been off the air all this week. Local networks have been airing news, reality and talk shows in their place.

Government-moderated talks between representatives from the Argentina Association of Actors, the Argentina Chamber of Independent Television Producers and local networks failed to produce any advances Tuesday.

Argentina's actors union is demanding that the standard daily work shift be reduced from 11 hours to 8 hours, 45 minutes.

A spokesman for the group acknowledged Thursday that production may not resume this year and could be delayed well into 2008, after the South American summer ends.

Locally produced fiction shows affected by the strike, like "Patito Feo" "Mujeres de Nadie" and "Son de Fierro," are extremely popular both in Argentina and overseas. Hundreds of hours of Argentine telenovelas and kids programming are exported in original and remake formats around the world, particularly to the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.