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Wednesday, 25 October, 2000, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Hollywood bruised by strike
William Baldwin
Movie actor William Baldwin was one of the first celebrities to support strikers
By the BBC's Peter Bowes in Los Angeles

Hollywood is facing a fresh struggle in the wake of the six-month commercial actors strike.

Union leaders look certain to rubber-stamp a deal thrashed out at the weekend - but the entertainment industry has many broken fences to mend following the bitter dispute.

The stoppage, over the fees actors receive from the advertising industry, has cost the Los Angeles area an estimated $125m (£85.6m).

Striking actors
Actors have won a pay increase

It has proved to be one of the most painful disputes in Hollywood history.

The settlement, which has been universally applauded by members of the union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), gives performers an average pay increase of around 9%.

Crucially, the deal guarantees that ads made exclusively for the internet will use union actors.

In the short term, actors will return to auditions - much to the relief of the commercial agencies responsible for casting television ads.

Future dissent

According to Mathis Dunn, the chief negotiator for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), actors and the ad industry must work on rebuilding relationships.

"We will immediately begin to reach out and try to build bridges, to reconstruct them," he said.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was one of the few strike breakers

But the long-running dispute has highlighted an already existing headache for Hollywood.

Many commercials are being shot well away from Los Angeles - the so-called runaway productions.

Agencies have been seeking out cheaper locations such as Vancouver and Toronto.

The trend accelerated during the dispute to the point that many industry observers believe Hollywood will never fully recover.

Foreign shoots are becoming the norm for advertisers although, given a choice, most prefer to film in Los Angeles.

"We've got the best crews in the world," says Steve Caplan of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers.

The commercial actors dispute may pale in significance next year when television and film actors and writers attempt to renegotiate their contract with the studios and TV networks.

Similar issues, such as repeat fees, are at stake - but the impact of a walkout would be far more devastating on the entertainment world.

It would be felt world-wide for years to come and involve some of the biggest celebrity names in the business.

With a few notable exceptions, such as Liz Hurley and Tiger Woods, the vast majority of union members lined up solidly behind the commercial actors strike.

The result, hailed as a major victory for members, suggests the unions won't shy away from another fight.

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See also:

24 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood's longest dispute ends
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Strikers attract star support
01 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Tiger faces strike hearing
18 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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