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SAG-AFTRA Board Approves New Agreement With AMPTP Limiting Exclusivity in TV Contracts

The vote was 95.5% in favor of the new deal

The national board of SAG-AFTRA approved a new agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Saturday, which will limit exclusivity in television actors’ contracts. The vote was almost unanimous, with 95.5% in favor of the measure.

The new deal will markedly cut down the time that contracts can hold series regulars back from working on other projects simultaneously and will apply to all work under contracts entered into on or after Jan. 1, 2023.

Among the key improvements to exclusivity rules for all series regulars:

  • Creation of a “conflict-free window” of at least three months during each season in which performers may accept a permitted appearance on another show or network without first confirming availability and potential scheduling. This “conflict-free window” is not mandatory where the filming schedule between seasons is less than 4 months.
  • An increase in the exclusivity money breaks from $15,000 per week or per episode for half-hour programs and $20,000 per week or per episode for one hour or longer programs to $65,000 per week or per episode for half-hour programs and $70,000 per week or per hour for one hour or longer programs. 
  • The expansion in permitted appearances for series regulars, including the ability to be a series regular on a second series and to do an unlimited number of guest star appearances, including an unlimited number of continuing roles that do not exceed 6 episodes.
  • A strict limitation on the permissible reasons for which a series producer may stop a series regular from accepting an appearance on another program, along with a requirement of good faith consideration of all permitted appearances and an obligation to keep records that are available for the union to review of series regular requests to work on other programs and the series producer’s response.

All of the above agreed-upon rules also are applicable for series regulars on children’s programming “subject to limitations on series regulars who are minors taking roles on other children’s programs.” The limitations do not apply to adult programs and cease when the minor reaches 18.

“This negotiation reflects a healthier collaboration between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP in the interdependent relationship we share. The AMPTP was motivated to come to the table and improve a contract that has hindered our members for years. I want to thank the negotiating committee and our members for their participation and activism on this issue, especially the Series Regulars who came and testified, wrote op-eds, and stood with us in the room during the negotiation. I particularly want to applaud Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and Ray Rodriguez for leading these negotiations,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in part.

Earlier this month, SAG-AFTRA National Board overwhelmingly approved its new bargaining agreement with Netflix. As part of that agreement, Netflix will join the bargaining unit run by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after quietly joining the organization last year, and all future contract negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and Netflix will be done concurrently with AMPTP talks.

Among the gains won by SAG-AFTRA are new exclusivity rules for series regulars on Netflix shows that give actors more flexibility to sign on to projects from other studios. It also includes an expansion of the bargaining agreement for dubbing voice work to include Spanish dubbing, and the first fixed residual payment guarantees for stunt coordinators.