I was just interviewed by Bloomberg on the break in talks that seems to be the order of the day as AFTRA announced it intends to begin on schedule with the AMPTP tomorrow. That means no deal for the moment with SAG. I suggested to Bloomberg that the SAG talks will go right up to June because there is very little incentive for the two Allens to make a deal. They are in office by virtue of MF and since MF is pushing for a break in the pattern set by the WGA and DGA (and likely by AFTRA) the Allens political survival requires them to keep pushing for more. Production is shut down now and SAG seems likely to use that as a kind of substitute for a strike to put pressure on the Producers.
There are two flies in the ointment, however.
First, SAG apparently has dropped its demand for a 100% increase in DVD residuals – offering instead an option for the Producers to drop a relatively measly 15% into the P&H plan. No word on whether they received a concession in return for this significant move. And what does this say about the sturm and drang that MF drummed up around DVD residuals for the last year or so?? Why give up without a fight on what is viewed as the major cash cow still for the employers? Perhaps MF realizes that they have not laid the critical political groundwork required to get the producers to move on the issue and they have now quietly backed off. Will the backers of Seymour Cassell go along with this?
Second, the Producers have made it pretty clear they will hold the line on the new media formulas set by the Writers and Directors. What is SAG going to do to get them to move? Does the pending shut down in production bring more pain to labor or to the producers?