The drama builds in Hollywood

July 10, 2008


We’re once again wondering who will blink first in Hollywood.

The Screen Actors Guild and the major firm and television studios are having another pow-wow today, and the subject is an ominous sounding “final offer” that management has presented to the union.

As we have seen, the talks so far haven’t gotten around the same sticky issues that prompted a strike this winter by the Writers Guild of America strike. So a take-it-or-leave-it offer by the studios doesn’t sound too promising if the entertainment biz is to avoid another strike.

But wait! SAG executive director and chief negotiator, Doug Allen, suggested on the eve of his union’s formal response that the door to further deal-making remained open. He had this to say in an interview with Reuters:

“I don’t know that those categorical statements are always to be taken at face value,” he told Reuters. “In fact, somebody from the WGA told me they got a total of 10 final offers from the AMPTP (during their talks). So we’ll see.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the studios may be looking at a slight change in strategy. It reports:

“The studios, fearing SAG leadership might drag negotiations on through the union’s elections in September, are considering adopting a more aggressive strategy. The producers have discussed the possibility of publicly asking SAG leadership to allow its members to vote on the current deal or declaring an impasse in the talks, which would allow them to implement parts of the current offer.”

Keep an eye on:

  • In a CNBC television interview, Sumner Redstone says his daughter is no longer the company’s heir apparent and that she will leave the Viacom board as part of an agreement he had reached with her (NY Times)
  • Financial news and data company Bloomberg LP is creating several new units as part of a reorganization that includes a shuffling of top management (Reuters)
  • Interpublic Group, the advertising services company, named Matt Seiler as global chief executive of its Universal McCann media buying agency as part of a broader shake-up (Reuters)
  • Yahoo will let customers, academics and even rivals build customized Web search services on top of its own technology, introducing a resale model into a major Internet market where it ranks a distant No. 2 to Google (Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

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