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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Possible strike by writers and actors
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2000 10:44:00 AM  

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>Can anybody give more info on this? When might it come down? What are the
>issues?

Early summer, I think the current contract expires around June. The issues are
complex and lengthy, but some of the highlights include....

To help get new cable and broadcast networks going, the WGA gave them big
breaks on scripts and residuals. I.e., a script for a syndicated, or basic
cable show pays about *half* what you'd get on a network series, and the
residuals are also about half. This needs to be fixed now that they're making
billions of bucks.

Foreign buyouts are typically about five grand for an episode *in perpetuity*,
when we now see episodes running forever in overseas markets, as many as 500
times per episode in many cases. This needs to be fixed.

The biggest scam the studios have, now that most of them own their own cable
networks (as Universal owns USA Network for instance)...the current contract
states that a writer's residual on an episode is a small percentage of the per
episode fee paid by a network for the rights to run the show. This worked fine
when there was competition. But when Universal, for instance, is selling a
show to *itself*, it has a vested interest in selling it for the lowest
possible price so that the residuals are next to nothing.

Example: on a Murder She Wrote episode of mine, on its fourth run, it should
pull in about $5,000 in residuals. The fourth run figure that I got off USA
(owned by Universal, the producing entity of MSW)? About $50.

These inequities and a dozen others need to be addressed, including the vanity
director's credit.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
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