Hollywood Actors' Strike Averted, for Now

For the second time in as many months, a strike that could cripple Hollywood has been averted — if only for the moment.

Negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists met with representatives of the Hollywood studios for a marathon 14-hour session that concluded early this morning with no deal, but at least an agreement to keep talking.

"I think everyone is looking to do what they can and get this thing wrapped up," said SAG spokesman Greg Krizman in Encino, Calif., where the negotiations are taking place.

But there was no indication how much progress, if any, was made. Like the talks between Hollywood studios and the writers' union in May, both sides are taking a low-key approach.

"[I] Think the fact that we're all still here indicates that there's a reason to be here but we're not at liberty to characterize anything that's going on inside right now," said AFTRA spokeswoman Pamm Fair.

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In May, the studios agreed to new terms with the Writers Guild of America on a three-year deal worth $41 million more than the old contract. In the current talks, the actors are trying to boost their minimum pay scale, which affects some 75,000 people.

The contract that expired at 12:01 a.m. Sunday will remain in effect until a new agreement is reached — or talks break down. Negotiators met until just after 12 a.m. PST, and plan to resume at 10 a.m.

Preparing for the possible 1-2 punch of a writers and actors strike, the major studios boosted production late last year and earlier this year, in hopes of having enough material in the can to outlast any of the unions.

But that same threat has led to a current slowdown in Hollywood, with some estimates saying employment is down as much as 50 percent due to the uncertainty — no one wants to begin production with the threat of a strike looming.

"Only in Hollywood can the unemployed strike and bring the industry to a halt," said Martin Grove of the Hollywood Reporter online.

A strike, which is not considered imminent as the unions have yet to hold a strike authorization vote, would likely cost the city of Los Angeles about $460 million per week. ABCNEWS' Neal Karlinsky and ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.

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