Alice would have dug the Web, we're sure
The Screen Actors Guild has added one more gripe to its list of beefs with the major Hollywood studios.
Having picked apart the studios' proposals on home video pay, force majeure claims, Web clips and jurisdiction for online programs, SAG is now highlighting concerns about payments for old TV series streamed on the Web.
The union has extended a "special invitation" to guild members who worked on shows such as "Maverick," "Bewitched" and "The Brady Bunch" -- that is, those who are still alive -- to attend a meeting Tuesday night at the guild's headquarters in the Mid-Wilshire district. The agenda: to discuss a studio proposal that would pay no residuals for streaming most television programs that were made before 1974.
That's the year studios agreed to pay residuals for future TV shows in perpetuity, replacing a system by which residual payments were capped based on the number of times a show was rerun and when it was created.
The studios contend that they've already settled the question of residual payments for pre-1974 shows and shouldn't have to take on additional obligations. But SAG maintains that actors are entitled to share in any revenue if some of the old chestnuts find new life on the Web.
That's just one among many issues that will no doubt surface Thursday when a federal mediator convenes a meeting -- the first in four months -- between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. And it's one more sign of just how far apart the sides are in their contract negotiations.
-- Richard Verrier