You could be seeing a lot more of your favorite TV actors as their union approved a deal on Saturday that would allow them to appear in multiple shows at once.
SAG-AFTRA has been lobbying for a decade to curtail so-called “exclusivity” deals, which prevent regular TV series from taking other jobs while on hiatus.
The deal, approved by the union’s national board on Saturday, will require producers to give TV actors three months after each season to take any job they want. That means show stars may more often appear as guest stars — or even regulars — on shows on other platforms and networks. The new agreement applies to work under contracts entered into on or after January 1.
The agreement also limits the reasons a producer may prevent a set series from accepting an appearance on another program.
SAG-AFTRA explained the financial component as follows: “An increase in exclusivity money breaks from $15,000 per week or per episode for half-hour programs and $20,000 per week or per episode for programs of an hour or longer to $65,000. per week or per episode for half-hour programs and $70,000 per week or hour for programs of an hour or more.
The deal came about after the union enforced the issue, with a bill in Sacramento that would have essentially eliminated exclusivity clauses. That bill, AB 437, appeared en route into the legislature, prompting the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — which negotiates on behalf of the studios — to seek a negotiated solution.
The bill is now withdrawn.
The Motion Picture Association had opposed the legislation, which would make it more difficult to coordinate schedules and could lead to fewer multi-season TV shows being renewed.
The union has argued that in today’s TV environment – with a plethora of shows and platforms – exclusivity is far less important than it was in the days of three broadcast networks.
Earlier this month, SAG-AFTRA signed a similar deal with Netflix. That agreement also creates a mandatory conflict-free window of three months and sets limits on option periods. The actors’ union has also complained that actors can remain in the dark for months or years while a network decides whether or not to renew a show. The Netflix deal limits those option periods to 18 months after the start of a season’s main photography. It also requires firing to begin within two months of the option being exercised.
The deal with the AMPTP does not cover option periods, although that could be addressed when the contract is negotiated next year.