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Directors Guild Reports ‘Slight’ Improvement in TV Hiring Practices of Women, Minorities!

May 20, 2016 (10:20) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 Giving a percentage; copyright Nikolai Sorokin at Dreamstime.com

May 19, 2016 | 01:12PM PT

The Directors Guild of America has reported “slight” improvements in the hiring of women and minorities during the 2015-16 TV season.

The guild made the disclosure in its sneak peek of data from its upcoming 2015-16 Episodic Television Director Diversity Report. More than 4,100 episodes were analyzed, a 5% increase from last year.

The DGA reported that in the 2015-16 season, women directed 17.1% of episodes – up from 15.8% in the 2014-15 season; and ethnic minorities directed 18.5% of episodes – up from 17.7% in the 2014-15 season. The results were similar to a study last year for first-time TV directors.

“There was a marked difference in hiring patterns between the major networks – which were the clear leaders in diverse hiring – and the basic cable and pay-TV networks,” the guild said.

The DGA will release the full annual report during the summer with analysis of all episodic director hiring across network, basic cable, pay-TV and SVOD series for the entire season.

“It’s important for us to share hiring data during this critical period,” DGA President Paris Barclay said. “As the networks convene in New York to present their fall lineups and court billions in advertising dollars, they’re also deciding on who they’ll hire to direct – to bring these stories to life for an increasingly diverse audience.”

“There’s much work to be done by the networks, studios and producers to repair the broken hiring pipeline they’ve shaped, and then neglected over the years,” he added. “We’ll be providing an in-depth analysis of the entire television season later this summer with a very close eye on new entrants to the pipeline, analyzing who is getting hired for those critical breaks as first-time episodic television directors.”


 Hmmm…a  slight?  I would imagine the the ladies would still feel slighted!  You think?



SAG-AFTRA Praises Remarkable Ex-SAG President William Schallert; ‘Patty Duke ‘ Co-Star Dead at 93—UPDATE

May 14, 2016 (13:40) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

May 9, 2016 11:37amWilliam Schallert

LOS ANGELES (May 9, 2016) – SAG-AFTRA mourns the passing of William Schallert, who served as president of Screen Actors Guild from 1979–1981. He was 93. His most memorable regular role was as the TV father of another future SAG president — Patty Duke — on The Patty Duke Show. From 1985–1987 he served with his former “TV daughter” as the ninth vice president of the Guild. His character, Martin Lane, was named by TV Guide as No. 39 on the list of 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.

“Bill Schallert’s remarkable career put him in the rare position of being able to understand actors at all levels of the business,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “He worked virtually every SAG contract, he enjoyed working with movie stars and background performers, he was a series regular and an uncredited bit player. He turned this knowledge and experience into service for his fellow actors. Despite leading the union during a very difficult time, Bill maintained his integrity and commitment, a commitment that extended into many more years of board service. I am especially pleased that Bill lived long enough to see the SAG-AFTRA merger become a reality as he was one of the pioneers of that effort.”

William SchallertSchallert, a genial gentleman and character actor known to all as “Bill,” appeared in hundreds of film, television and theater productions for more than 65 years. He was recruited to run for the Screen Actors Guild board in 1974 by Guild co-founder and former president Leon Ames, and became one of the busiest members of the board. Elected to the Guild presidency in 1979, Schallert led the Guild through the difficult TV/Theatrical strike of July-October 1980, taking on the tough issues of home video and pay TV. After the strike, Schallert lost his 1981 bid for a second term to Ed Asner. Still, there was renewed impetus for merger with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Schallert became chair of the first Joint SAG-AFTRA Merger Committee. More than 30 years later, an ecstatic Bill Schallert was present at the Guild’s national headquarters on that momentous afternoon of March 30, 2012, when merger with AFTRA became reality.

In addition to his Guild presidency, he also served as trustee of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s John L. Dales Scholarship Fund, Producer-Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan, and the Motion Picture and Television Fund. From 1977–79, he was a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and served on the Academy’s Actors’ Branch Executive Committee until June 1991. Schallert also served as 3rd vice president from 1982–83, 9th vice president from 1985–87 and national treasurer from 1989–91. He was chair of the Theatrical Wages and Working Conditions Committee in 1977 and the Commercial Contracts Wages and Working Conditions Committee in 2003, and continued to serve on the board until 2005. While president, he also became co-founder and first chair of the Committee for Performers with Disabilities.Activist_Schallert_served_as_SAG_president_from_1979_until_198

In 1971, he won an Off-Broadway Distinguished Performances “Obie” award as the judge in The Trial of the Catonsville Nine (a role he reprised in the film version) and was nominated in 1973 for Distinguished Performance by the Los Angeles Drama Critics association for the comedy Mind with the Dirty Man. In 1980, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Religious Programming for his appearance in The Stableboy’s Christmas episode of the longtime series This is the Life.

In an August 1985 Drama-Logue interview, he shared his basic belief about what it takes to succeed as an actor, besides talent: “I believe you shouldn’t become an actor unless you need to. Unless you have no choice about it. Liking — even loving — acting is not enough. You have to need to act. That’s not all, either. However much you believe in yourself, there’s the matter of feedback. If you keep failing you have, finally, to recognize the tradeoff between aspiration and achievement.”

On June 6, 1993, the Screen Actors Guild’s Hollywood Division presented Schallert with its Ralph Morgan Award, named for the Guild’s first president. Schallert accepted with self-deprecating good humor, stating: “There are three essential requirements for this award: You have to serve long enough to get noticed, you have to quit before they fire you and you have to stay alive until they decide to give it to you.”

A_good_life_William_Schallert_has_died_at_the_age_of_93_at_his_homeSchallert was a renowned mentor to his fellow performers. He continued with essential advice for members who wished to be of service to their union and fellow members: “Board members assume a mantle of leadership.  If they carry it properly, they will make difficult decisions for the rest of us. Eighty-eight thousand members cannot get together some place, debate the issues and make a decision … but there’s something else that every member of this union has to do every day. Go out for auditions, get the work and make sure you know your contract. Some producers will take everything that’s not nailed down. If you don’t know what the contract is all about, or if you’re too fearful to demand what’s in it, you are diminishing it for all of us. It takes a helluva lot of guts to stand up for your rights. But you are the eyes and ears and conscience of the Guild. You are unique and irreplaceable. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll have the basis for the courage to demand your rights and protect them for everyone else. God bless you for sticking to it.”

Born William Joseph Schallert on July 6, 1922, in Los Angeles, he was connected to the entertainment world from the time of his birth. His father, Edwin Schallert, was drama and film editor for the Los Angeles Times, and his mother, Elza Schallert, was a prominent magazine writer and radio host who had done publicity for Hollywood theater impresario Sid Grauman. Schallert, who originally hoped to become a music composer, was drawn to acting while a student at UCLA, where among many student activities, he served as an editor on the Daily Bruin.

In 1946, after his return to college following service in World War II, he appeared in stage plays at UCLA, composing music for some of the productions. At the end of 1946, he co-founded the Circle Players/Circle Theatre with fellow UCLA students, including future Screen Actors Guild Board member and officer Kathleen Freeman, and continued working with the group until 1950. In 1947, he appeared with the Circle Players as the title character in Ethan Frome, with Freeman playing his wife, and was hired shortly thereafter for small roles in the feature film The Foxes of Harrow for 20th Century Fox, starring Rex Harrison and Maureen O’Hara, and a short film, Dr. Jim, starring Stuart Erwin for film producer Jerry Fairbanks.William Schallert

In 1949, he married actress Leah Waggner, a fellow member of the Circle Players, with whom he would have four sons.

He acted in a broad spectrum of productions, ranging from the low-budget sci-fi The Man from Planet X to the Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night, but his widest audience was television viewers. He co-starred and guest-starred in hundreds of TV shows, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Hawaii Five-O and The Twilight Zone, and contributed what may have been his most recognizable single appearance was as Nilz Baris in the iconic Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles. In more recent years, he made appearances on How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives, the vampire series True Blood and the horror miniseries Bag of Bones.

Schallert is survived by his four sons and seven grandchildren.

A three-and-a-half hour interview with Schallert, conducted at his home in February 2012 may be viewed on the Internet through the Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television at http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/william-schallert.

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Thank you sir for your service to our great guild

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

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SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Commercials Contract!

May 10, 2016 (11:37) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller



WGA West Members Turn Down Proposal for Less Frequent Elections!

May 3, 2016 (21:00) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller




Membership Petition Demands a Qualified Audit of the SAG P&H and AFTRA H&R Plans!

May 2, 2016 (13:31) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller



  1. Despite multiple charges of malfeasance and embezzlement being brought against high ranking staff at SAG P&H, AND the criminal indictment and conviction of Nadir Karimi, former CIO of the plan, there has been NO independent investigation or qualified (forensic) audit into the Plan’s fiscal health. Furthermore, the Department of Labor has had both civil and criminal investigations of SAG PP&HP open since 2009. http://deadline.com/2016/04/nadir-karimi-sentence-sag-pension-health-plans-tax-fraud-1201737873/
  2. It has been announced that the SAG and AFTRA HEALTH PLANS will be merged by January 2017. Regarding the merger, National Executive Director, David White said, “There will be pain all around.” Senior Performers who had been grandfathered into the plan, had their premiums increased 230% April 2016. 300 early retirees with SAG P&H have had their health coverage discontinued because the plans “couldn’t afford them.” The stock market is up 200% since the lows of 2009. If our investments are being properly handled, why couldn’t they be afforded? http://deadline.com/2015/11/sag-health-plan-meeting-early-retirement-1201629301/ The fiscal health of both plans MUST be determined to insure a successful merger.
  3. AFTRA misrepresented its fiscal health prior to the merger of 2012. AFTRA conducted an audit, but failed to act on most of the auditor’s recommendations. The effect of this on AFTRA H&R remains unknown. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/audit-reveals-pre-merger-aftra-624083 http://www.sagwatchdog.com/wp/2013/09/09/pre-merger-aftras-financial-holes-ah-woes/
  4. The Board of Trustees of SAG PP&HP and AFTRA H&R are charged by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to look out for the best interests of the members of the union. Failure to do so may result in legal action. “Courts may take whatever action is appropriate against fiduciaries who breach their duties under ERISA including their removal.” http://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/fiduciaryresp


Early 2000’s
At the suggestion of senior SAG staff, SAG PP&HP agreed to cover the staff members who work for SAG. Both staff and SAG members accrued benefits at the rate of 3.5% with member contributions coming from Producers, and staff contributions coming from membership dues.

2006 July 6
Gary Mathis, SAG P&H Director of IT, brings attention to the misappropriation of Plan funds by CIO, Nadir Karimi and CEO, Bruce Dow to the Department of Labor. Mr. Mathis was fired as a result. https://pmcdeadline2.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/sag-ph-wm.pdf

AFTRA deliberately undermines many of SAG’s contracts during the TV Theatrical negotiations causing a loss of revenue to the SAG PP&HP. http://deadline.com/2008/03/sources-aftra-now-refusing-to-jointly-negotiate-with-sag-for-contract-5339/

2008 July-October
Craig Simmons is hired as consultant, then made Executive Director of Human Resources, IT and Risk Management at SAG P&H.

Nadir Karimi, CIOof the P&H Plan, leaves his post after he is implicated in a multi-million dollar kickback/embezzlement scheme taking place in 2008. No charges are brought against him by his employers at the P&H Plan. No “qualified” audit is done to discover the extent of the embezzlement. No word of this embezzlement was ever reported to SAG members. Karimi has since been convicted of tax evasion. and was sentenced 14 April 2016.

2009 / 2010
Plan Trustees decide to diminish actors’ accrual rate from 3.5% to 2%, without informing members that staff would remain at the 3.5% accrual rate. This results in an approximate 43% reduction in accrual rates for each working actor/participant. Why was there no reduction imposed on staff? Why only the actors? This not only affects the fiduciary health of every union member, it also undermines the fiduciary health of the P&H Plan due to lost revenue. (To date, Staff continues to accrue at 3.5% with all contributions going into one fund.) Staff is allowed to retire early at age 55 with full pension, while actors who retire at 55 receive only 70% of their accrued pension.

Taking early retirement at age 55, STAFF can use their highest earning 5 years to calculate their retirement pension up to the ERISA pension cap of $210,000 annually, while actors must use all of their pension credited years to calculate their pension. However, no matter how much they have made in their career, their cap is $96,000.

Staff needs only 20 years of service to achieve the cap of $210,000 while union members are required to have 35 years of service to receive the cap of $96,000, and must sacrifice 30% of their pensions if they retire early at age 55. Such members achieve a much lower cap of $67,200 annually. This is a difference of $142,800 annually-below what staff, would get. Remember, Staff salaries are paid by membership dues.

2011 March 24
Craig Simmons, Executive Director of HR, IT and Risk Management of the SAG P&H Plans, informs Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG P&H Trustee/ Deputy National Executive Director & Senior Counsel of SAG, of malfeasance and misappropriation of funds by both Bruce Dow, SAG P&H Plan CEO, and Nadir Karimi, former CIO of the Plan.

2011 March 25
Craig Simmons, Executive Director of HR, IT and Risk Management is fired seven weeks after receiving an excellent performance review and a merit pay increase.

2011 August 23
Craig Simmons notifies all Union Trustees of his findings and receives no response from any of them. http://www.scribd.com/doc/65135998/Craig-E-Simmons

2011 September 15
The Wrap breaks “Embezzlement Cover-Up” at SAG P&H.

2011 September 16
In an article in the LA Times business section, Simmons, the former HR Exec alleges Nadir Karimi was involved in a $5-$10 million embezzlement of the Plans funds.

SAG P&H Board announces they have retained “outside counsel” to do a “full review” of the allegations but still gives CEO Bruce Dow their “full support”.

2011 October 17
The LA Times reports that the plans received a $2 million payment from its insurer to recover a substantial portion (not all) of the losses.

2011 December 11
Over 1000 SAG members sign a petition demanding a thorough investigation of the embezzlement charges. http://deadline.com/2011/12/sag-health-pension-plan-fund-scandal-hundreds-sign-petition-forimpartial-probe-207033/

2011 December 22
Participants receive a response from The Board of Trustees stating that “most [not all] of Mr. Simmons’ allegations are false” and that an independent investigation was done. The “independent investigator” was found to be Ms. Nancy Solomon, a former colleague and personal friend of David White, SAG NED and Union Trustee of the SAG P&H plan. This is a major conflict of interest. www.sagph.org/html/btmessage.pdf

2012 January
Bruce Dow takes “60 Day Medical Leave”. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/sag-pension-health-wrongful-termination-lawsuit-303459
Participants reply to The Board of Trustees, (in part): “Your response coupled with the recent announcement that Bruce Dow has taken a leave of absence, has left us with even more unanswered questions and troubling concerns.” If the Trustees “discovered in 2008 that approximately $2 million had been misappropriated”, why did PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) not report it in their 2009, 2010, or 2011 audits of the SAG Funds? Why was this not reported to the Department of Labor?

SAG P&H Union Trustees (made up of both SAG staff and SAG National Board Members and Officers) continued “to keep the information secret so as to encourage the merger of the SAG-PPHP with the AFTRA pension and health plans” and the merger of SAG and AFTRA! http://www-deadline-com.vimg.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/DOL_complaint_CES_9_2011v2__120315232453.pdf
By not speaking out, the Union Trustees were, essentially, urging the membership to cast a completely uninformed vote on a merger that had not been fully vetted.
Despite the fact that Appendix I of the SAG Constitution set forth the pre-merger steps the National Board of Directors was required to take for the purpose of merger, those steps were not taken, thereby violating ERISA law and Title V of the LMRDA. Demands for specific studies to assess the impact of a merger on member benefits were also ignored.

2012 February 2
AFTRA H&R Trustees issue a statement that such a study needed to be done, the SAG Trustees decided not to do so. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2012/02/aftra-health-pension-plan-trustees-union.html Further underscoring the lack of fiduciary responsibility to the members, the membership was never informed that those necessary steps had not been taken. Instead, Participants were assured that their benefits would be safe without the necessary studies.

2012 March 13
Robert Carlson, the only one of the 18 Trustees representing the Union, speaks out regarding the need for the required due diligence. http://variety.com/2012/film/news/pension-plan-trustee-against-merger-1118051433/

2012 March 26
Robert Carlson is removed as trustee by the SAG National Board. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sag-pension-health-trustee-removed-304866

2012 April
Long time SAG P&H CEO, Bruce Dow resigns to become a consultant to the plans! http://www.thewrap.com/bruce-dow-exits-sag-pension-and-health-ceo-37416/

2015 November
In an article regarding the case, Bruce Dow, former CEO of the Plan is on record as having said that even he did not know what the total loss from embezzlement might be. http://deadline.com/2015/11/nadir-karimi-guilty-sag-pension-health-plans-tax-fraud-1201625699/ However, it is alleged that the amount of Karimi’s embezzlement was far greater than $2 million dollars. Some have indicated that it is somewhere between $5 million and $24 million. Why has a qualified audit never been done, especially after proof of embezzlement?

2015 November 23
A meeting is held as a result of SAG P&H Early Retirees receiving a letter in October informing them that the self-pay program will be discontinued and their health coverage will end 1 January 2016. At this meeting, they are told they “can no longer be afforded”. http://deadline.com/2015/11/sag-health-plan-meeting-early-retirement-1201629301/ It is also revealed that Senior Performers who had been grandfathered into the plan, will have their premiums increased 230% in April 2016.

The stock market is up 200% since the lows of 2009. If our investments are being properly handled, why can’t all participants be afforded?

2016 January
Several Board Members request another meeting ASAP for the members with David White, the Trustees and the heads of the SAG P&H Plans. Mr. White asks for a list of questions to be posed at the meeting and assures them a meeting will be arranged no later than April 2016.

2016 January 23
“We were hit with some surprises after merger.” Mr. White and others charged with protecting our best interests have known about these “surprises” for the last 4 years:

  • We were lied to by AFTRA prior to merger.
  • AFTRA was, in fact, near bankruptcy.
  • Had the merger been delayed by even a few months, this devastating information would have come to light.
  • The true number of fully paid up AFTRA members was not revealed to SAG members.

How much money did merger cost SAG due to having to shore up AFTRA’s near bankruptcy? Surely, this bail out took a toll on the fiscal health of SAG PP&HP. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/audit-reveals-pre-merger-aftra-624083

2016 February
David White receives a list of questions to be addressed by the SAG P&H Trustees. Member calls about scheduling the requested meeting are not returned.

2016 April 15 & 16
Letters signed by 65 SAG-AFTRA members (containing much of the same information as is in this petition) and the original list of questions sent to David White are sent to Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, John McGuire, Ray Rodriguez, Bob Bush and every Union Trustee of SAG PP&HP. Several letters are hand delivered to the Plan offices and others are sent via certified mail. There has been no response from any of our Executive Staff or SAG P&H Trustees.





SAG P&H Union Trustees:
Daryl Anderson
Amy Aquino
Timothy Blake
Jim Bracchitta
John Carter Brown
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland
Mandy Fabian
Leigh French
Barry Gordon
Bob Kaliban
Richard Masur
John T. McGuire
Michael Pniewski
Ray Rodriguez
John H. Sucke
Kim Sykes
Ned Vaughn
David P. White

SAG P&H Management Trustees:
Eryn M. Doherty
Gary M. Elliott
Nicole Gustafson
Marla Johnson
Robert W. Johnson
Sheldon Kasdan
Shelley Landgraf
Allan Linderman
Carol Lombardini
Stacy K. Marcus
Diane Mirowski
Paul Muratore
Alan H. Raphael
John E. Rhone
David Silberman
David Weissman
Russell Wetanson
Samuel P. Wolfson

AFTRA H&R Union Trustees:
Shelby Scott
Kristen P. Browde
Denny Delk
Mathis L. Dunn Jr.
Matthew Kimbrough
Lynne Lambert
David Hartley-Margolin
D.W. Moffett
Joyce Reehling
Sally Stevens
David White

AFTRA H&R Producer Trustees:
Marc Sandman
Helayne Antler
Ann Calfas
Andrea Finkelstein
Keith Gorham
Harry Isaacs
Hank Lachmund
Stephen Mirante
Ron Wilcox

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Thanks to W.T for opening the Door on this!


The Ol’ SAG  Watchdog

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