SAG, AMPTP keep on talking

No major announcements follow 17th day

SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers finished their 17th day of talks on Monday, with no major announcements or messages to its members or the public about where they're at in negotiations.

The sides are set to finish up formal talks Tuesday, one day before AFTRA's scheduled start of its negotiations with the AMPTP. It's likely there will be no firm deal in place between SAG and the AMPTP by the self-imposed 5 p.m. deadline.

Sources indicated Sunday that both sides remain far apart in the negotiations despite SAG's decision to scale back its initial demands on a new DVD/home video residual formula. But whether the AMPTP is biting was not clear; the studios have stood firm with other unions, including the WGA, on not changing the 22-year-old formula already in place.

AFTRA is negotiating on its own the primetime contract for its members after ending its 27-year joint bargaining agreement with SAG. Many in the industry believe the performers union will be able to hash out a deal with the producers in less than two weeks.

If AFTRA and the AMPTP can cut a deal quickly, there would still be enough time for SAG to come back to the table and hammer out a deal with the producers, one observer said Monday. The SAG deal expires June 30.

In the meantime, studios and production companies are already in de facto strike mode and are not greenlighting projects for the summer. Several indie producers have filed for guaranteed completion agreements with SAG, which allows projects to continue on even if the actors do strike.