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Monday, 2 April, 2001, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Actors 'want deal' to avoid strike
The Screen Actors Guild has tried to reassure Hollywood that the looming actors' summer strike is not a foregone conclusion.
SAG's chief negotiator Brian Walton told the Guild's directors on Sunday: "Actors don't want to strike - actors want a deal."
The current actors' contract, covering film and primetime television comes to an end on June 30, and a new agreement is being negotiated.
There has been mounting gloom in Hollywood, also facing a writers' strike over a new contract.
Walton said: "We know our power and pledge to use it responsibly as a careful member of the film and television community.
"Actors want to keep the industry working."
Bill Daniels, the SAG president recently spoke to BBC TV's Newsnight about the Guild's concerns.
"With places like China opening up, I get fan mail from the strangest places, that we never did before, that are watching American television, he said.
"The payments for actors are not in line with the profits that the producers are getting out of these things."
It is not clear when the SAG will begin their negotiations, however, and the guild has said it will wait until after the Writers Guild of America finishes its next round of bargaining for its own new contract.
On 28 March Viacom president Mel Karmazin said of the continuing writers' negotiations struck a more cautious note, by saing: "I think there's good reason to worry - there's some grave concerns there's going to be a strike."
Viacom's companies include the Paramount studio, CBS and MTV.