SAG-AFTRA Board Approves New Network Television Code for Non-Primetime Broadcasts

Over $200 million in covered earnings will be generated by the contract, which covers shows from “Jeopardy!” to the Oscars telecast


SAG-AFTRA announced on Wednesday that its national board has approved a tentative agreement for a new Network Television Code, which covers nearly all non-primetime and all non-dramatic primetime television broadcasts as well as digital media.

The contract, which generates over $200 million in covered earnings for SAG-AFTRA members, was approved with 84% of the vote and now heads to the actors guild membership for a ratification vote. Guild president Fran Drescher highlighted the contract’s new protections for actors involved in nude or intimate scenes, continuing SAG-AFTRA’s work to combat sexual harassment on sets with various initiatives including the creation of an intimacy coordinator registry.

This contract exemplifies why unions are essential for labor. Thanks to the strength of SAG-AFTRA, which fought for the substantial gains acquired through this negotiation, many will benefit. The biggest beneficiaries being dancers, stand-ins and promotional announcers,” Drescher said in a statement. “But, also in the interest of elevating consciousness and sensitivity of a performer’s safe space, it expands protections for those performing nude or in intimate scenes. That’s a seminal step toward providing a safer environment on set and moving the needle toward an industry that respects boundaries.”

Among the shows covered by the Network Television Code include syndicated game shows like “Jeopardy!”, morning shows like “Good Morning America,” variety shows like “Saturday Night Live,” and awards telecasts like the Academy Awards.

Among the contract highlights the union touted include:

  • General wage increases of 3% per year retroactive to July 1, 2021, applicable to most rates.
  • A 1% benefit fund contribution rate increase split 60% to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and 40% to the AFTRA Retirement Fund.
  • For primetime award shows and entertainment specials, producers are now required to provide transportation to and lodging at broadcast centers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., which are presently exceptions to transportation and lodging obligations for all types of programming.
  • Required lodging or transportation when exhaustion or inclement weather prevent safe driving.    
  • Greatly improved nudity and simulated sex provisions that match the achievements made in the 2020 TV/Theatrical Contracts negotiation.
  • Substantial increases for dancers on primetime variety shows and award shows in the extra rehearsal rate (from $30 to $40) and overtime rates (from $45 for primetime variety and $48 for award show rehearsal days to $55 for both), including a new $70 overtime rate for hours in excess of 12 in a day.
  • Notice of authorized rehearsals required to be given to dancers to enable dancers and the union to surface and resolve disputes over whether rehearsals are covered.
  • Singers now receive doubling pay at 50% of the applicable dancer program fee when required to learn “complex choreography.”
  • Where there are more than two weeks of rehearsal for an award show or primetime entertainment special, rehearsal pay is due biweekly instead of after show day. 
  • First-ever requirement to pay scale — set at the same as traditional media scale — for promotional announcements made for new media with an additional 15% due for use beyond 13 weeks.
  • First-ever requirement of additional compensation — set at 15% of minimum fee — for reuse beyond 13 weeks of a traditional media promotional announcement reused in new media.
  • Automatic $14 additional compensation for background actors and stand-ins required to work in artificially generated rain or smoke (excluding herbal cigarettes) when not able to wear appropriate swim, surf or snow gear.
  • Stand-in minimum calls significantly increased.

“The gains achieved in this contract are essential to the working performers who make Net Code content successful,” said National Executive Director and lead negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “I want to thank our Negotiating Committee for their hard work on this contract, especially Negotiating Committee Chair Keri Tombazian and Vice Chair Kevin Scullin. I would also like to express my deep appreciation to Lead Negotiator Ray Rodriguez for his leadership in navigating these complex and lengthy negotiations.”