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'Marketplace' Report: Actors' Strike

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'Marketplace' Report: Actors' Strike


'Marketplace' Report: Actors' Strike

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ALEX: The Screen Actors' Guild contract expires tonight. We will hear about that on Marketplace when Day to Day continues.

(Soundbite of music)


From NPR News this is Day to Day. And soon we could all be watching a rerun of the writers' strike. This time, though, it's the actors that are threatening to walk out. The contract between the Screen Actors' Guild and Hollywood studios expires tonight at midnight and the two sides are still far apart. Marketplace's Janet Babin is here now, and Janet, if actors do go on strike what would that mean in terms on what's on TV this fall?

JANET BABIN: Well, Madeleine, it would mean fewer new stuff for us to watch this fall. Many fall TV shows normally go back into production in July and that's right around time where a strike could happen so we'd all be missing our new shows. But we'll be seeing fewer shows in the fall anyway because we are still affected by this writer strike that went on from November to February. A lot of pilots just weren't filmed or picked up because of that strike.

BRAND: So why are the two sides still so far apart? And let's talk about the actors first.

BABIN: Well, the Screen Actors Guild or SAG is pushing for more money on the DVD residuals. Actors get a little bit of money every time a DVD is played, essentially. And that's something their producers have refused to give the other Hollywood unions. And another major sticking point is how the actors are paid when their stuff appears on the internet, and that's the same issue that prompted that writers strike. This actors' strike though, is more complicated than the writers because the two actor's unions SAG and AFTRA the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, they're feuding amongst themselves. After a negotiated contract similar to the one that the writers OK'd earlier this year, but SAG's holding out for a better deal. Still, it's hard to imagine a strike in this economic climate.

BRAND: Yeah, and so, what kind of economic effects would a strike have?

BABIN: Well, I spoke with Kevin Klowden about that. He's an economist at the Milken Institute. He says the writers' strike caused a 2.1 billion dollar loss in economic growth just for California. Now that includes loses for those who work in crafts, and caterers, and that sort of thing. And I asked him about the fallout potentially for an actor's strike, and he says would have a similar effect. And if you take the whole country into account, it would broaden his two billion dollar by at least a third.

Mr. KEVIN KLOWDEN: (Economist, Milken Institute): A true disruption is going to affect New York. But a disruption is also going to affect any other places around the county that's done a great job of luring filming. Whether it's North Carolina or Illinois, even Arkansas, or Louisiana, or anywhere that managers to lure localized filming, and obviously even Canada could be affected.

BABIN: Klowden says the damage from the actors' strike could be magnified because the effects of the writer strike are still going on.

BRAND: OK, we talked about television and television production maybe being affected, put on hold at least. What about movies? How would they be affected?

BABIN: Well, movies have a longer lead time so we might not notice any kind of a slowdown movie wise until next summer, but again, there's a good chance that given the tough economic times we might not see a strike at all.

BRAND: Thank you Janet. That's Janet Babin of public radio's daily business show, Marketplace.

BRAND: Coming up, Mormons say they are not polygamists. A PR blitz, when Day to Day continues.

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