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Tuesday, 2 May, 2000, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
US actors strike over fees
Billy Baldwin/rally
Actor Billy Baldwin speaks at a protest rally in New York
More than 130,000 actors who star in television and radio commercials in the United States have gone on strike, demanding a bigger cut from advertising on cable and the internet.

It is the first major Hollywood walkout in 12 years.



Actors are the nicest people in the world, and they always give away the store

Richard Dreyfuss
The actors oppose plans by advertisers to pay a flat fee for TV and radio appearances. Instead they want the current system of royalties to be extended to cover adverts on cable television and the internet.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), representing about 135,000 actors, authorised the strike.


Protest in Los Angeles
The strike is the first major Hollywood walkout for 12 years

Celebrities supported the commercial actors on both coasts.

"Actors are the nicest people in the world, and they always give away the store," said Hollywood star Richard Dreyfuss at a rally in New York. "It's a habit we've got to stop."

The advertisers say they will use non-union actors to produce new commercials during the stoppage.

TV commercials offer actors a minimum of $478 for a day's work.

Actors also get an extra $50 to $120 fee each time a spot is broadcast on network television.

With cable TV commercials, however, actors receive only a flat fee of $1,000 or less for each 13-week run.

Two-thirds of all TV adverts are now being made for cable, and the actors are demanding that the "pay-per-play" fee be extended to cable as well.

Advertisers, however, want to extend the flat fee from cable to the networks.

TV boom

The current fee structure dates from the 1950s and 60s, when the three main networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - claimed up to 95% of the audience.

Today, however, six networks compete for 50% of the audience, while cable and satellite channels account for the rest.

The strike does not affect theatrical performances, TV and radio shows, news or other educational or entertainment programming.

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19 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood actors vote for strike
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