New SAG-AFTRA Deal Means Actors May Guest Star on Other Series

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has approved a new agreement to change exclusivity terms in contracts signed starting on 2023. As The Hollywood Reporter reveals, the new deal gives actors more flexibility to work in multiple TV productions simultaneously.

The SAG-AFTRA is an American labor union representing more than 160,000 actors, journalists, radio personalities, and even influencers, making it one of the most powerful Hollywood players. That means decisions taken by the SAG-AFTRA have profound consequences on how films and TV shows are produced. The new agreement, for instance, will allow the same actor to star simultaneously in two TV shows as part of the regular cast. In addition, per the new terms, actors can also work in unlimited TV shows as guest stars, as long as they show up in a max of six episodes.

Before this agreement, big studios could sign exclusivity deals with actors that barred them from working in other productions. Per the new SAG-AFTRA terms, that will no longer be possible. The new agreement includes a “conflict-free window” of three months between seasons where actors can look for work elsewhere “without first confirming availability and potential scheduling.” That means even lead stars of big series will be able to use these three months between the production of each season to become part of another project. However, this window won’t be valid if a TV show’s filming schedule has a break that lasts less than four months between seasons. So, starting from 2023, big studios could rush to renewal and produce multiple seasons or risk sharing their big stars with competitors.

The new agreement also raises the “money break,” which is the payment threshold that allows actors to negotiate their contracts independently instead of following the SAG-AFTRA rules. Before the agreement, this threshold was $15,000 per week or per episode for half-hour shows and $20,000 per week or per episode for one-hour or longer series. Now, the money break is $65,000 for half-hour shows and $70,000 for one-hour or longer shows. That means the agreement will cover more actors, forcing big studios to pay more for the stars they want to lock with exclusivity or accept the new terms.

The new agreement comes after a series of talks between SAG-AFTRA and Netflix and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a union representing Hollywood’s most prominent producers. Talking about the new agreement, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said:

“This negotiation reflects a healthier collaboration between the 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.”

It’s still too early to know how the new terms will change how producers sign contracts with actors. However, the agreement represents excellent news for the TV show actors affiliated with the SAG-AFTRA, as they will be able to diversify their schedules and land multiple jobs at the same time. As we learn new details about the agreement and the possible reaction from big studios, you can expect to read it all here at Collider.

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