Tentative Deal in Actors' Strike

Nearly six months into a strike by commercial actors, negotiators for advertisers and the actors’ unions reached a tentative contract agreement late Sunday night, the unions said.

If a joint board of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists endorses the deal on Saturday, actors could be back at work as early as Oct. 30, SAG spokesman Greg Krizman said.

Details of the agreement were to be released at a news conference today, Krizman said.

Waiting for Approval

A message left late Sunday for a spokeswoman for the Association of National Advertisers was not returned, and the home number for an attorney representing the ANA and the American Association of Advertising Agencies was busy.

Commercial actors in SAG and AFTRA, which have a combined membership of 135,000, went on strike May 1, seeking to protect residuals, or fees paid each time a radio or television commercial is broadcast on a major network. Advertisers want to replace residuals with flat-fee payments.

The tentative deal was reached during negotiations in New York that had been going on since Thursday, said AFTRA spokeswoman Pamm Fair. She said the agreement ultimately will require approval of union members.

The strike, affecting only radio and TV commercials, was the first major Hollywood walkout in 12 years.

The Toll

The advertising industry has said its ad production remained steady with the use of nonunion performers. However, automakers recently complained the strike made preparations for the launch their 2001 models more difficult.

The commercial actors have drawn the support of high-profile movie and TV actors, including Michael J. Fox and Golden Girls actress Estelle Getty, who have joined pickets outside commercial shoots. During the Emmy Awards last month, actors including Martin Sheen, Kelsey Grammer and Jennifer Aniston wore yellow ribbons showing their support for their often anonymous colleagues.