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April 6, 2011

WGA Ballots

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 2:26 pm
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WGA Ballots on the Way for Ratification Vote on Studio Deal

3:15 PM 4/5/2011 by Jonathan Handel

Ballots can be returned in person at meetings on April 26 or via mail by April 27.

The WGA deal reached last month is on its way to the membership for a ratification vote; ballots are in the mail. That’s evident from the guild website, where a member link provides access to the ratification booklet and related materials, but the guild has continued its mostly sotto voce approach this year by making no public announcement of the mailing.

The ballots are due back to the WGA by 9 a.m. on April 27. Members can also vote in person at meetings in Los Angeles and New York the day before.

Ballots were accompanied by a statement from negotiating committee co-chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray explaining why negotiations had been completed in less than three weeks of talks: “an economy still recovering from a deep recession; an economic pattern set in negotiations with other unions; and the willingness of the Companies to address the Guild’s most pressing economic need, regarding the solvency of the pension plan.”

The materials also included a cover letter from WGA West president John Wells and WGA East president Michael Winship that said, “We highly endorse ratification of this contract” and noting the unanimous recommendation of the negotiating committee, WGA West Board and WGA East Council.

The new accord with the AMPTP follows the pattern set by deals in the last few months with the actors and directors. The new three-year deal provides for 2 percent annual wage increases and a one-time 1.5 percent increase in employer contributions to the guild’s pension plan. SAG, AFTRA and the DGA received 2 percent annual increases also, and a one-time increase in employer contributions to pension and/or health plans.

The writers’ deal also includes a 20 percent increase in pay TV residuals – i.e., the residuals payable when a pay TV show such as Showtime’s Dexter is rerun on pay TV. That gain is less dramatic than the percentage may suggest, however, since those residuals are a small, fixed amount, in contrast to more lucrative formulas provided in the directors and actors agreements.

In a move that the letter acknowledged as “a concession,” the new agreement provides that network primetime residuals will be frozen at current rates for the duration of the contract. Such a move is unusual: primetime residuals usually increase when minimums do.

The new deal also includes a 2 percent increase in first year ad-supported Internet streaming of television programs. The DGA, SAG and AFTRA received a corresponding increase. In the case of the WGA, the dollar amounts involved are $16 to $32 per year.

Like the other unions, the WGA also accepted a shift from first-class air travel to new rules favoring business class and coach.

The WGA did not achieve any significant improvement in workplace conditions such as issues related to “sweepstakes pitching.”

Included with the ratification materials was a letter from WGA member Ari B. Rubin entitled “Divide and Conquer.” Although Rubin accepted the deal as the best obtainable under the circumstances, he decried what he called the studios’ strategy of “divide and conquer,” and colorfully compared it to a strategy the British army used in North Africa during World War II.


July 19, 2010

Digital Media Law

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 4:10 pm
Tags: , ,
Transportation strike could paralyze Hollywood

Posted: 18 Jul 2010 10:39 PM PDT

Believe it or not, Hollywood may be headed for another work stoppage in just two weeks. In 2007-2008, the Writers Guild struck, shuttering television and film production. In 2008-2009, a Screen Actors Guild stalemate lingered for almost a year, shutting down primarily film production. This time, the Hollywood Teamsters may strike – and that could immediately halt television and film production. For details, see my exclusive Hollywood Reporter story.

January 5, 2010

Producer’s Guild Award Noms

PGA announces movie noms
‘Avatar,’ Precious’, ‘Basterds’ among films nominated
By Gregg Kilday

Jan 5, 2010, 09:26 AM ET
Taking its cue from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America revealed ten films, instead of the traditional five, when it announced its nominees for its top movie award on Tuesday.

“Avatar” led the pack, listed alphabetically, followed by, “District 9,” “An Education,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Invictus,” “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,” “Star Trek,” “Up,” and “Up in the Air.”

Pixar/Disney’s “Up” also scored a nomination for the PGA’s animated film award, a category first introduced in 2005. Its competition in that race consists of “9,” “Coraline,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

For documentary film, the nominees are “Burma VJ,” “The Cove,” “Sergio” and “Soundtrack for a Revolution.”

Shifting its attention to long-form television, the PGA nominated “Georgia O’Keefe,” “Grey Gardens,” “Little Dorrit,” “Prayers for Bobby,” “The Prisoner” and “Taking Chance.”

Refresh page for more details.

December 17, 2009

SAG Nominations

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:24 pm
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SAG noms revealed
‘Basterds, ‘Precious,’ ‘Up in the Air’ lead SAG noms
By Gregg Kilday

Dec 17, 2009, 09:22 AM ET
“Inglourious Basterds,” “Precious” and “Up in the Air” led the list, with three nominations each, as the Screen Actors Guild unveiled noms for its 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Thursday morning.

“Basterds” and “Precious” were both nominated for outstanding performance by a motion picture cast — SAG’s equivalent of a best picture award — along with “An Education,” “The Hurt Locker” and the musical “Nine.”

On the TV side, SAG also spread the love around, doling out three noms each to “30 Rock,” “The Closer” and “Dexter.”

“The Hurt Locker’s” Jeremy Renner, who was overlooked when the Golden Globe Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday, made the list of motion picture lead actor nominees along with Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”), George Clooney (“Up in the Air”), Colin Firth (“A Single Man”) and Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”).

For lead motion picture actress, the nominees are Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”), Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) and Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia.”).

For supporting male film actor, SAG rounded up Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”), Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”), Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”) and Christoph Waltz (“Basterds”).

The circle of supporting female film actors includes Penelope Cruz (“Nine”), Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”), Diane Kruger (“Basterds”) and Mo’Nique (“Precious.”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

JEFF BRIDGES / Bad Blake – “CRAZY HEART” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
GEORGE CLOONEY / Ryan Bingham – “UP IN THE AIR” (Paramount Pictures)
COLIN FIRTH / George Falconer – “A SINGLE MAN” (The Weinstein Company)
MORGAN FREEMAN / Nelson Mandela – “INVICTUS” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JEREMY RENNER / Staff Sgt. William James – “THE HURT LOCKER” (Summit Entertainment)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

SANDRA BULLOCK / Leigh Anne Tuohy – “THE BLIND SIDE” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
HELEN MIRREN / Sofya – “THE LAST STATION” (Sony Pictures Classics)
CAREY MULLIGAN / Jenny – “AN EDUCATION” (Sony Pictures Classics)
MERYL STREEP / Julia Child – “JULIE JULIA” (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

MATT DAMON / Francois Pienaar – “INVICTUS” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
WOODY HARRELSON / Captain Tony Stone – “THE MESSENGER” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER / Tolstoy – “THE LAST STATION” (Sony Pictures Classics)
STANLEY TUCCI / George Harvey – “THE LOVELY BONES” (Paramount Pictures)
CHRISTOPH WALTZ / Col. Hans Landa – “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

PENELOPE CRUZ / Carla – “NINE” (The Weinstein Company)
VERA FARMIGA / Alex Goran – “UP IN THE AIR” (Paramount Pictures)
ANNA KENDRICK / Natalie Keener – “UP IN THE AIR” (Paramount Pictures)
DIANE KRUGER / Bridget Von Hammersmark – “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

AN EDUCATION (Sony Pictures Classics)
EMMA THOMPSON / Headmistress

THE HURT LOCKER (Summit Entertainment)
CHRISTIAN CAMARGO / Col. John Cambridge
BRIAN GERAGHTY / Specialist Owen Eldridge
ANTHONY MACKIE / Sgt. J.T. Sanborn
JEREMY RENNER / Staff Sgt. William James

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures)
DANIEL BRUHL / Fredrick Zoller
AUGUST DIEHL / Major Hellstrom
JULIE DREYFUS / Francesca Mondino
SYLVESTER GROTH / Joseph Goebbels
JACKY IDO / Marcel
DIANE KRUGER / Bridget Von Hammersmark
DENIS MENOCHET / Perrier LaPedite
MIKE MYERS / General Ed French
BRAD PITT / Lt. Aldo Raine
ELI ROTH / Sgt. Donny Donowitz
TIL SCHWEIGER / Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz
ROD TAYLOR / Winston Churchill

NINE (The Weinstein Company)
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Guido Contini
JUDI DENCH / Lillian
FERGIE / Saraghina
KATE HUDSON / Stephanie


September 25, 2009

SAG Election Results are in!

SAG elects Ken Howard president
Amy Aquino chosen as secretary-treasurer
By Jay A. Fernandez

Sept 24, 2009, 10:24 PM ET

Updated: Sept 24, 2009, 11:10 PM ET
There are surely more conflicts to come, but the Screen Actors Guild membership on Thursday night settled a big one: Ken Howard has been elected the union’s new national president.

Running mate Amy Aquino beat two-time incumbent Connie Stevens in the race for secretary-treasurer. Howard and Aquino will serve two-year terms beginning Friday.

For the moment, at least, the outcomes indicate that a winning 47.2% of the voting segment of SAG’s roughly 120,000 members prefers the less strident approach of the self-styled moderate wing of the party represented by Unite for Strength.

Howard collected 12,895 votes, or 3,989 more than MembershipFirst candidate Anne-Marie Johnson, who received 32.6% of the 27,295 votes cast. Independents Seymour Cassel and Asmar Muhammad garnered 17.7% and 1.5%, respectively, in their bid for the presidency.

UFS came together last year in opposition and in January led a boardroom coup at SAG, installed new negotiators and salvaged a deal with Hollywood producers nearly a year after sister union AFTRA had ratified its own contract. Johnson is part of a separate coalition, Membership First, that was shunted to the board’s minority and saw its leader, president Alan Rosenberg, muzzled on most official guild business.

Howard, who picked up an acting Emmy on Sunday for his role in HBO’s “Grey Gardens,” campaigned on bringing a more collaborative approach to relationships with AFTRA, the DGA and WGA. Segments of those groups were alienated by the often-heated rhetoric of Rosenberg and 1st national vp Johnson.

“I campaigned on the promise that I’d do everything in my power to strengthen our position at the bargaining table by building a greater unity with AFTRA and the other entertainment unions, and that’s exactly what I intend to do,” Howard said. “Despite the sharp differences that those of us active in guild affairs sometimes have over strategy and tactics, we need to continually remind ourselves that we’re all on the same team, fighting for the same thing — and by pulling together, we’ll only grow stronger.”

UFS expanded the narrow majority it established on the 71-member national board in the September 2008 elections. The next Hollywood board meeting with newly seated members is scheduled for Oct. 5.

In concert with the national result, Mike Hodge was elected president of SAG’s New York branch, succeeding Sam Freed, who passed the moderate baton to his fellow United Screen Actors Nationwide member.

Hodge defeated Mitchell Green, a SAGNOW partisan affiliated with the more hard-line MembershipFirst faction. USAN, which is affiliated with UFS, has dominated SAG politics in New York in the recent past.

The results seem to reflect an industrywide fatigue resulting from the 2007-08 writers strike and the protracted SAG contract negotiations that ended in June. Last week, the WGA elected John Wells to the top slot over the more hard-line Writers United candidate Elias Davis. The rest of the WGA officers, however, were split with Writers United.

Among the immediate challenges facing Howard are retention of coverage of network pilots and the next round of negotiations for a new TV-theatrical contract. As part of the last deal, SAG agreed to start seven weeks of bargaining with the AMPTP as early as October 2010.

Additionally, the shifting economic and labor landscape has resulted in a looming decrease in benefits and increase in premiums beginning in January as a result of investment losses and decreased employer contributions. The damaged pension and health benefits situation became a political hot potato during the campaign.

Mending fences with sister unions DGA, WGA and AFTRA is a high priority for Howard as well. AFTRA members re-elected Roberta Reardon to the presidency in early August. As a UFS candidate, Howard preached the benefit of a collective approach with AFTRA and its roughly 70,000 members in negotiations with the studios and networks, an approach that was abandoned by the previous SAG regime.

The presence of Cassel in the election surely cost Johnson some votes, since he also remains a stalwart MembershipFirst partisan. Cassel narrowly lost to Rosenberg in the 2007 election, but he was dinged by an internal sexual harassment case against him that became public during this most recent campaign.

The National Board members elected Thursday will assume office Friday for terms of three years.

SAG’s Hollywood Division elected 11 National Board members; the New York division elected four National Board members; and seven National Board members were elected from the union’s branches in Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Portland and San Diego.

National Board members elected from the Hollywood Division in addition to Sheen, Harris, Johnson, Stevens and Ladd were Elliott Gould, Ed Asner, Dule Hill, Hill Harper, Nancy Travis and Marcia Wallace (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as National Board alternates and to the Hollywood division board (all one-year terms): Rosenberg, Gabrielle Carteris, Jenny O’Hara, Michael O’Keefe, Clyde Kusatsu, Dawnn Lewis, Doug Savant, Michelle Allsopp, D.W. Moffett, Joe Bologna, Robert Hays, Jason George, L. Scott Caldwell, Clark Gregg, Patrick Fabian, Bill Smitrovich, Ellen Crawford, Stacey Travis, Mandy Steckelberg, Renee Taylor, Bernie Casey and John Carroll Lynch.

National Board members elected from the New York division: Freed, Sharon Washington, Monica Trombetta and Liz Zazzi (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as national board alternates and to the New York division board of directors (all one-year terms): Manny Alfaro, Sheila Head, Marc Baron, Joe Narciso, Jay Potter, Dave Bachman, John Rothman, Kevin Scullin and Justin Barrett.

National Board members elected from the Regional Branch division, all with three-year terms: John Carter Brown (Chicago), David Hartley-Margolin (Colorado), Dave Corey (Florida), Scott Rogers (Hawaii), Helen McNutt (Philadelphia), Mary McDonald-Lewis (Portland) and Don Ahles (San Diego).

Ballots for all eligible SAG members in Hollywood and New York were mailed on Aug. 25.

August 13, 2009

Emmys on schedule?

Emmy ceremony to proceed in real time

TV Academy, CBS ditch plan to time-shift eight categories

By Nellie Andreeva

Aug 12, 2009, 02:13 PM ET

Updated: Aug 12, 2009, 11:04 PM ET

More Emmy coverage  

It has been a season of reversals for the Primetime Emmy Awards. First, the ceremony was shifted from Sept. 20, only to be returned to that date two weeks later. Now, in an even bigger about-face, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has scrapped a plan to time-shift eight categories on this year’s broadcast after a firestorm of criticism from the creative community.

As a result, all 28 categories slated for the CBS broadcast will be awarded live.

“This decision was made to mend relationships within the television community and to allow executive producer Don Mischer to focus his full attention on producing the creative elements in the telecast,” TV academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner said. “Our goal is to celebrate the year in television and honor excellence and this year’s great achievements with the support of our industry colleagues and our telecast partner.”

Last month, Mischer proposed and ATAS’ board of governors voted to approve a time-shift of eight awards.

The proposal included mostly longform categories: best movie and best miniseries; writing for movie/miniseries; directing for movie/miniseries; supporting actor and actress in TV movie/miniseries; writing for drama series; and directing for variety, music and comedy series.

“We try to make the Emmys more relevant to mainstream viewers while honoring the choice of the academy properly and appropriately,” Mischer said at the time.

But the move drew criticism from the WGA, DGA, SAG and several networks, including HBO, which dominates the longform field. More than 100 writer-producers, including Shonda Rhimes, Seth MacFarlane, Matthew Weiner and John Wells, signed a letter protesting the decision.

That petition was the wake-up call for the Academy that created the momentum to scrap the plan, WGA West president Patric Verrone said.

“It’s important that the TV Academy appreciates the power that writers and showrunners wield when they work together and they are a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

A main point of contention was that the plan had been drafted without input from the guilds.

After the ill-fated time-shifting announcement, there have been phone conversations between the Academy and WGA.

“There will be more going forward to prevent unilateral decisions like this being made without consulting with a very important part of the creative process — writers,” Verrone said.

The creative community’s public outcry over the plan spilled into the recent Television Critics Assn. press tour, where talent and executives univocally condemned the idea and CBS execs were forced to defend it.

With the backlash showing no signs of subsiding, ATAS, after consulting with CBS, decided to back off.

Mischer said the decision to keep all Emmy categories live “was made because ultimately it is in the best interest of the show” and “in the best interest of the entertainment industry.”

“We had attempted to make room in the show for more live performances. However, our community did not embrace the plan, which is a very important consideration,” he said.

This year’s Emmycast is a crucial one for the academy coming off last year’s ceremony, which hit an all-time ratings low, and entering the final year of its contract with the broadcast networks.

With ratings for other main awards shows rebounding, the academy and CBS have been looking for ways to liven up the telecast, which includes more categories awarded live than its counterparts.

August 12, 2009

Emmy Awards vs. Network

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 6:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

Emmy ceremony’s time shift axed

TV Academy ditches plan to shift eight categories

By Nellie Andreeva

Aug 12, 2009, 02:13 PM ET

The Emmy time-shifting is dead.

After a storm of backlash against CBS and the TV Academy’s plan to time-shift eight categories from the live Primetime Emmy ceremony, the network is backing off.

The eight categories will be awarded live during the Sept. 20 broadcast.

The TV Academy had no comment.

August 4, 2009

Writer’s Protest Emmys

August 3, 2009, The Hollywood Reporter

UPDATED: More than 100 current TV writers are protesting the TV Academy’s announced changes to its primetime telecast format this year.

Top showrunners such as John Wells (“Southland”), Ron Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”), Victor Fresco (“Better Off Ted”), Ed Bernero (“Criminal Minds”), Carol Mendelsohn (“CSI”), Clyde Phillips (“Dexter”), Doug Ellin (“Entourage”), Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”), Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”), Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”), David Shore (“House”), Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and others have signed a statement opposing shifting two TV writing categories out of the live Emmy telecast (writing for a dramatic series and writing for a movie/miniseries).

The TV Academy announced changes to the show’s format Thursday in an attempt to make the program more expedient by time-shifting eight of the 28 categories out of the live telecast. The moves will cut about 15 minutes from the three-hour program.

“Our job is to make an entertaining show that appeals to the maximum number of people but, most importantly, maintains the integrity of the Emmy brand,” executive producer Don Mischer said at a teleconference last week. 

Though the axed categories were split among directing, writing, acting and producing, writers point out that there were only four writing categories in the primetime telecast to begin with.

The news comes as CBS presents its press tour lineup in Pasadena today, which includes a TV Academy panel to talk about this year’s Emmys.

“I don’t think we’re being unfair to the creative community,” said CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler when asked about the issue Monday. “I think coming out of the telecast last year everybody knew we had to make a change and change is not easy. Even with the time shift, which is done in a very respectful way, it will have no impact on the integrity of the program. If ratings are up, more people are going to be watching the shows.”

Here’s the protest letter signed by more than 100 TV writers:

“We, the undersigned showrunners and executive producers of television’s current line-up of programs, oppose the Academy of Television Arts and Science’s decision to remove writing awards from the live telecast. This decision conveys a fundamental understatement of the importance of writers in the creation of television programming and a symbolic attack on the primacy of writing in our industry. We implore ATAS to restore these awards to their rightful place in the live telecast of the 2009 Emmy Awards.”

On Friday, the WGA issued a strongly worded statement of its own:

 “This action of the board of governors is a clear violation of a longstanding agreement the Writers Guilds have with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences regarding their awards telecast. It is also a serious demotion for writing and a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of writers in the creation of television programs. Last year’s Emmys suffered a tremendous decline in quality and ratings because of a lack of scripted material. That the Academy would then decide to devalue the primary and seminal role that writing plays in television is ridiculous and self-defeating.”
UPDATED: More showrunners joining the protest: Marc Cherry, David Chase, David Milch, Phil Rosenthal, Shawn Ryan, Al Jean, Shane Brennan, Carol Barbee, Jenji Kohan, Rene Balcer, Hart Hanson. Statement will be released by end of the day…


Carter Covington, 10 Things I Hate About You
David Fury, 24
Alex Gansa, 24
Evan Katz, 24
Robert Carlock, 30 Rock
Michelle Nader, 100 Questions
Rebecca Sinclair, 90210
Claudia Lonow, Accidentally on Purpose
Mike Barker, American Dad
Jeff Melvoin, Army Wives
Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Virtuality
Victor Fresco, Better Off Ted
Bill Prady, Big Bang Theory
Mike Kelley, The Beautiful Life, Swingtown
Mark V. Olsen, Big Love
Will Scheffer, Big Love
Hart Hanson, Bones                  
Stephen Nathan, Bones
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
Molly Newman, Brothers & Sisters
Matt Nix, Burn Notice
Tom Kapinos, Californication
Jane Espenson, Caprica
Andrew W. Marlowe, Castle
Chris Fedak, Chuck
Matt Miller, Chuck
Scott Rosenbaum, Chuck
Robert Munic, The Cleaner
Rich Appel, The Cleveland Show
Jennifer Johnson, Cold Case
Greg Plageman, Cold Case
Garrett Donovan, Community
Neil Goldman, Community
Ed Bernero, Criminal Minds
Carol Mendelsohn, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Naren Shankar, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Peter Lenkov, CSI: New York
Pam Veasey, CSI: New York
Rick Eid, Dark Blue
Doug Yung, Dark Blue
Matt Berry, Desperate Housewives
Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives
Bob Daily, Desperate Housewives
Clyde Phillips, Dexter
Melissa Rosenberg, Dexter
Charles H. Eglee, Dexter
Maggie Friedman, Eastwick
David S. Rosenthal, Eastwick
Doug Ellin, Entourage
Thania St. John, Eureka
Jill Franklyn, Failure to Fly
Steve Callaghan, Family Guy
David A. Goodman, Family Guy
Mark Hentemann, Family Guy
Seth McFarlane, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad
Chris Sheridan, Family Guy
Marc Guggenheim, Flash Forward
Luke Reiter, The Forgotten
Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood
Jeff Pinkner, Fringe
J.H. Wyman, Fringe
David X. Cohen, Futurama
Ira Ungerleider, Gary Unmarried
Michelle King, The Good Wife
John Altschuler, The Goode Family
Dave Krinsky, The Goode Family
Patrick Sean Smith, Greek
Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
Steve Peterman, Hannah Montana
Michael Poryes, Hannah Montana
Glen Mazzara, HawthoRNe
Adam Armus, Heroes
Garnett Lerner, House
David Shore, House
Brad Kern, Human Target
Jon Steinberg, Human Target
Colette Burson, Hung
Dmitry Lipkin, Hung
Michael B. Kaplan, I’m In the Band
Neal Baer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Rene Balcer, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Walon Green, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Samuel Baum, Lie to Me
Shawn Ryan, Lie To Me
Daniel Voll, Lie to Me
Janet Leahy, Life UneXpected
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Lincoln Heights
Carlton Cuse, Lost
Adam Horowitz, Lost
Edward Kitsis, Lost
Damon Lindelof, Lost
Matt Weiner, Mad Men
Holly Sorensen, Make It or Break It
Glenn Gordon Caron, Medium
Todd Slavkin, Melrose Place
Darren Swimmer, Melrose Place
Michael Royce, Men of a Certain Age
Gretchen Berg, Mercy
Aaron Harberts, Mercy
Liz Heldens, Mercy
Jeffrey Lieber, Miami Trauma
Steven Maeda, Miami Trauma
Eileen Heisler, The Middle
DeAnn Heline, The Middle
Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Shane Brennan, NCIS; NCIS: Los Angeles
Jeff Astrof, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Kari Lizer, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Andrew Dettman, Numb3rs
Ken Sanzel, Numb3rs
Greg Daniels, The Office, Parks & Recreation
Paul Lieberstein, The Office
Michael Schur, The Office, Parks & Recreation
David Hudgins, Past Life
Ellen Kreamer, Plummer
Jon Cowan, Private Practice
Stan Zimmerman, Rita Rocks
Michael Rauch, Royal Pains, Love Monkey
Shaun Cassidy, Ruby & the Rockits
Marsh McCall, Ruby & the Rockits
Tom Hertz, Rules of Engagement
Matthew Carlson, Sons of Tucson
Nancy Miller, Saving Grace
Neil Goldman, Scrubs
Al Jean, The Simpsons
Matt Selman, The Simpsons
Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy
Michael Feldman, Sonny with a Chance
Steve Marmel, Sonny with a Chance
Steve DeKnight, Spartacus: Blood & Sand
Ann Biderman, Southland
John Wells, Southland
Danny Kallis, Suite Life on Deck
Eric Kripke, Supernatural
James Duff, The Closer
Jay Kogen, The Troop
Thomas W. Lynch, The Troop
Carol Barbee, Three Rivers
Eric Overmyer, Treme
Michael Hirst, The Tudors
Susan Beavers, Two and a Half Men
Lee Aronsohn, Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory
Jill Soloway, United States of Tara
Jeffrey Bell, V
Scott Peters, V
Jack Kenny, Warehouse 13
David Simkins, Warehouse 13
Roberto Benabib, Weeds
Jenji Kohan, Weeds
Todd J. Greenwald, Wizards of Waverly Place
Peter Murietta, Wizards of Waverly Place
Matt Dearborn, Zeke & Luther
Tom Burkhard, Zeke and Luther
Patric M. Verrone
John F. Bowman
David Chase
David Milch
Phil Rosenthal

July 25, 2009

Fixing the Residuals System

Fixing the Residuals System

Posted: 24 Jul 2009 04:19 PM PDT

The residuals system is broken. It’s expensive to administer and is an invitation to conflict as platforms such as new media evolve. Yet we need residuals, because talent survives on these payments between gigs. Can the system be fixed?

Yes, I believe so. For a proposal, see my piece in today’s Hollywood Reporter.


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Rosenberg v. SAG Lawsuit Reply Brief Filed

Posted: 24 Jul 2009 11:20 AM PDT

The appeal grinds on. SAG president Alan Rosenberg and three other Membership First hardliners (1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord) filed their reply brief earlier this week.

I’m told there will be oral argument (unscheduled as yet). That’ll drive up the price to SAG of this nonsense by probably about $5,000 more: I’d imagine several attorneys for a mock practice session for several hours, then two attorneys for oral argument for a half day or so. Members’ dues money at work, thanks to MembershipFirst.

———————Subscribe to my blog ( for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.

June 6, 2009

Anne-Marie Johnson

Anne-Marie Johnson, MembershipFirst

June 4, 2009, 09:41 PM ET

THR: What has been the hardest thing for you in getting through the past year?

Anne-Marie Johnson: Saying no to auditions and to jobs, because since February 2008, outside of the relationship with my husband and my friends, this has been the most important thing. I’m glad I have very understanding representatives. And thank God for residuals, because I’ve been able to put full-time work on hold somewhat and work jobs that would allow me to be here.

THR: Have you lost friends or colleagues over this?

Johnson: Yes. But you know what? I don’t worry about it. If you lose friends over something that’s righteous, then they’re not your friends. It’ll be mended when they see, if this contract is ratified, how their earnings capability is cut drastically. They will be coming to me and to others saying, “My God, you were right.”

THR: How has your party’s original agenda changed most in recent years?

Johnson: It’s grown. Our original agenda, our mission statement, hasn’t changed. The involvement, the outreach, the national status of Membership First has certainly changed. But our mission statement, our initial goals have not changed.

THR: Do you honestly believe that an organization of 120,000 or so members, that has a sister union with tens of thousands of overlapping members, will ever come to any real consensus?

Johnson: Sure.

THR: How do you see that happening?

Johnson: If we’re talking about actors seeing eye to eye, represented by both AFTRA and SAG, yes I see that happening. If we’re talking about a standard boilerplate merger, no I don’t see that happening. But if we’re talking about actors, on-screen talent, seeing and speaking the same language and understanding the same needs and concerns, yes I do see that happening.

THR: Do you think SAG would ever split itself into two entities?

Johnson: (laughter) I know that there’s a lot of desire to do that from both coasts.

THR: Do you hear that often?

Johnson: Oh, yes. Quite often. It just comes off in casual conversations. In frustration. I see no upshot in that. It certainly wouldn’t benefit the Screen Actors Guild to have a Screen Actors Guild East and a Screen Actors Guild West. It may work for the Writers Guild. But we also have members in the middle of the country, and in the south and in the north. The majority of writers live either in New York or California. Actors are everywhere. So it would not be beneficial.

THR: In the most succinct and specific terms that you could articulate, what would constitute an acceptable offer in this round of negotiating? Again, acceptable — not ideal.

Johnson: Jurisdiction in new media from the first dollar, which SAG since 2004 assumed jurisdiction anyway. And a percentage of residual payments so when my employer makes money, I make money. If my employer makes no money, I don’t make any money.

THR: You mean across every media in any format.

Johnson: Correct. Obviously, I don’t want to tamper with the formulas that we have had set for decades, the fixed formulas and the pooled formulas. But why should that be any different in new media? Anything that generates income for our employers should generate income for those that are being used for that income to be generated.

THR: When Membership First member Ed Asner compares ratifying the contract to Jews being executed, how can you bemoan the lack of civility on the other side without feeling hypocritical?

Johnson: I don’t bemoan whatever statements are made from the other side if it’s done without the stamp of the Screen Actors Guild. But the last email that was sent out, that accused those who are voting in opposition of trying to trick the members from voting no and trying to bring the union down, and “not having a plan,” that to me is reprehensible. My dues money paid for that message. And not only that, the response from the Screen Actors Guild that they had to send out that email because erroneous claims were being made by the individuals who want you to vote no, well they never stated what mistakes or mistruths we stated in any of our literature! It’s a general statement of “Don’t be fooled…,” “You are being told…”

THR: And you don’t think that’s acceptable?

Johnson: I think it’s acceptable if it’s on the blog.I thought it was from the AMPTP, that email blast! But that was from my union, accusing me of trying to bring my union down.

THR: And you don’t think there’s any legitimacy to that claim when you’re suing the guild?

Johnson: That lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with this ratification.

THR: Well, it’s not completely tangential.

Johnson: Our lawsuit purely has to do with California law and how a board votes.

THR: Right. But that was a means to an end that played specifically into these contract negotiations, so it’s not unrelated.

Johnson: But it would not have changed the outcome of the vote. It’s how the vote was taken. That’s our challenge. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but it certainly would have legitimized the process.

THR: If the contract is passed by the membership, will you and Membership First move on to elections, or will you pursue further legal remedies?

Johnson: No, if the contract is ratified by the membership, the membership has finally spoken and we have to accept that and make sure that the membership is treated with respect and we continue our responsibilities as board members. And Membership First will begin the process of this upcoming election.

THR: Let’s say that it is passed, do you have any thoughts on mending fences? Do you and your adversaries take a retreat together or go to Disneyland?

Johnson: No. None whatsoever. We move ahead.

THR: What’s the most altruistic thing you could attribute to those who disagree with you on this contract issue?

Johnson: All I can say is that anyone who’s hanging their hope on the fact that the AMPTP in 2011 will consent to negotiating with more than one union at a time; that the DGA won’t go in early to set the template for the rest of us to have to deal with as they did this go-around; that IATSE or the WGA or any other union won’t go ahead of us and set what they need to set for their own members; that the miraculous sunset clause will actually benefit the Screen Actors Guild and be honored after the CEOs and the heads of studios and networks have made their millions off of us in this free streaming area of new media. And if anyone thinks that all that’s going to come together in 2011 and the AMPTP’s going to decide, “You know what? You’re right. We have made a good God amount of money on this, we know we’re going to make even more, we’ll give you a percentage,” without some type of strike, then these individuals are truly living in a fantasy world. Does anyone actually believe the DGA gives a flying f*** about background performers? No. Do you think IATSE does? Do you think the Writers Guild does? Their contract expires a couple of months before ours. What are they going to do, hold out until we get our s*** together? It would be possible, but there are a lot of what-ifs. I don’t believe in a lot of these what-ifs. And I certainly do not believe in the perfect storm. Even if there were a perfect storm, I don’t believe our employers are going to give up this goose that will be laying a lot of golden eggs.

THR: What was the last performance or acting job you were hired and paid for?

Johnson: I just finished an independent film two weeks ago. I did before that a SAG low-budget film called “Suicide Dolls” and another movie before that called “Freeloaders.” And I did a movie of the week for Hallmark called “Uncorked.” So I’ve been very busy.

THR: Have you acted in any original content for the Web?

Johnson: No. I’m at that level where I can say no. But you know what? I’m not worried about me. I’m worried about the performer who must say yes. So no, fortunately I’ve dodged that bullet. But the older I get it’s going to be harder and harder for my representatives to keep saying no.

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