SAG Strike Unlikely, Far Less Damaging To TV Than Writer's Strike

Categories: TV Business

Written By

December 10th, 2008

Broadcasting & Cable reports that:

The Screen Actors Guild is indeed going ahead with its plan to at least ask members to authorize a strike.

The guild said Wednesday it will mail out ballots on Friday, January 2, with votes tabulated on Friday, January 23. That is roughly one month before the February 22 Academy Awards are scheduled to take place.

The guild needs a yes vote by 75% of members who vote to have the ability to then call for a work stoppage.

I'll go on record and guess that because of several factors that the strike never happens, whether or not the union gets the strike authorization. First of all, compared to December, 2007 when the writers struck the US economy is a complete wreck, lots of people are losing their jobs, including people in the TV business. I don't think people want to go on strike perhaps costing themselves and other people jobs at this time. Also, this week's announcement that NBC is eliminating 5 hours of scripted (and acted!) prime-time programming for the The Jay Leno Show every weeknight at 10pm has got to be a giant warning sign for the creatives in the TV industry. That move removes 5 hours of highly paid actors and writers from the television economy in a single step. That would certainly cause me to pause before voting to strike.

Even if the SAG does get authorization *and* follows through with a strike, it's likely to be much less damaging to the TV industry than the writer's strike was last season (the movie industry effect, I couldn't compare). The writers struck in December, before most shows had more than half their episodes produced, effectively cutting the season in half. The SAG actors wouldn't strike until at least January 23, and probably later. By then a far larger share of the episodes for scripted shows would already be completed, meaning far less schedule disruption. And unlike with the writer's strike, many actors belong to the competing AFTRA union, which already has struck a deal with the producers, so shows that are entirely AFTRA (and I've seen lists that I'll try and grab and include in this post) would be unaffected by a SAG strike.

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