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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 13:27 GMT
Studios start actors' talks early
SAG members picketing with writers, January 2008
Studios will not want a repeat of the recent writers' strike
Hollywood studios want to begin talks with actors' unions three months ahead of schedule, reports say.

The studios' deal with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is due to expire on 30 June.

Studios are also preparing for talks with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Aftra).

The uncertainty has forced studios to delay projects rather than risk having them shut down by a walkout, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The talks come weeks after a crippling writers' strike ended.

March meetings

"If the SAG situation doesn't resolve itself fairly quickly, then you do start to develop a situation where there might be a little gap in late 2009," Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore told Hollywood Reporter.

Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), which bargains on behalf of the studios, has already met SAG chief Doug Allen and Aftra head Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.

The two unions have already set dates for the end of March to discuss a joint position on wages and working conditions, Variety reports.

Striking writers picket in Hollywood
Striking writers held up TV and film production

Aftra has already hinted it may negotiate separately with the studios. Variety reported the union was unhappy with SAG's insistence on lower initial rates for cable TV shows.

Last month, four of Hollywood's biggest stars have taken out adverts in US trade papers urging union leaders to start contract talks in a bid to avert a strike.

Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro said they wanted SAG to negotiate with studios.

The actors' union offered strong support to the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in its three-month strike over work distributed on DVD or over the internet.

TV and film production was crippled by the strike and it led to the cancellation of the Golden Globes ceremony.



SEE ALSO
Actors urge talks to avert strike
14 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
Film directors agree studio deal
17 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Studios 'cut contracts' in strike
15 Jan 08 |  Entertainment

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