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We posed the following two question to the Powers that be at SAG: (1.) How many of the shows CURRENTLY being shot in DIGITAL at WB and UPN will be affected by the proposed Contract Extension proposal? And(2) Will this WB & UPN deal set a binding Historical precedent– or is it simply limited to the term of the Extension?

Mr. Tom La Grua , National Director of Contract Strategy “Screen Actors Guild,” was kind enough to offer his expertise in explaining this to our SW readers.

Here is the full text of his e-mail response to your humble Editor & Chief’s query.

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Arlin,

Here are my responses to your questions as forwarded to me.

1. In section 6 re: primetime programming (new digital shows prod. on or after 7/1/04 under Sideletter G of SAG TV contract or AFTRA Network Code, shall thereafter be subject to the terms of Exhibit A of AFTRA.*…How many programs this will effect? UPN currently programs 10 hours of primetime programming, 6 of which are dramatic program hours. WB currently programs 13 hours of primetime programming, of which 10 and a 1/2 are dramatic program hours. If there are no changes in the number of program hours or the mix of programming, and if all of the dramatic shows are new this season and are shot using digital, there will be 16 and a 1/2 hours of programming under this agreement. However, if a current show on the schedule that is shot digitally makes it into the upcoming season, unfortunately it would still be produced under the old rates.

2. Also, does this set a precedent? Will these shows be hereafter and forever prod under Exhibit A, or just for the term of the extension?

Any primetime dramatic digital program produced for The WB or UPN will be produced using higher network terms (Exhibit A/SAG TV Agreement) instead of the lower tape terms (AFTRA’s Network Code and SAG’s Sideletter G) for initial compensation during the term of this extension. After the extension the Guild and AFTRA will bargain improvements using as the foundation the better network terms–in particular our target is improving residuals in the upcoming negotiation. The producers will, at best, attempt to minimize any improvements and, at worst, attempt to rollback terms.

Tom La Grua
National Director of Contract Strategy
Screen Actors Guild

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Thanks Mr. La Grua for that enlightening response. I now have the answers to my questions. The answer to my first question. How Many of the current shows being shot under Digital will be affected by this contract? The answer: ZERO!

As to my second question does this agreement set a binding precedent? The answer is NO!

So in summary: NONE of the shows CURRENTLY being shot on Digital will be affected by the proposed Contract Extension. And IF NO New Shows are shot in digital and NONE of the old non Digital Shows switch over to DIGITAL IN THE UPCOMING YEAR EXTENSION

.This new touted, Historical Breakthrough WILL HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT: NOT ONE MEMBER WILL MAKE AN EXTRA PENNY IN WAGES, And there is NO guarantee OF A BINDING PRECEDENT!

So, at the end of this Extension which the AMPTP requested— we will be right back where we started

ah, well, actually that’s NOT true. We will have handed over to producers an EXTRA YEAR TO STOCKPILE PRODUCT in anticipation of our announced assault on their DVD GOLDEN GOOSE!

A.L. Miller Stay Tuned! WOOF !

*The exact text reads: “As to new prime time dramatic series produced on or after July 1, 2004 in digital format (currently 24P) for the WB or UPN for the 2004-5 television season under Sideletter G of the SAG G of the SAG Television Agreement or under the AFTRA Network Code, the terms of Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Code, the terms of Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Code shall apply, except as hereinafter provided”

The key here is that 2004-5 caveat. Translation: This will hold ’em for a year.

**Formatting on Mr. La Grua’s E-mail is WS’s.