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July 19 2024


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Could Actors' Strike Prevent Series V Promotion?

By Christian
February 21, 2001 - 10:51 PM

If Paramount is able to start production on the series on time, this Fall will be a crucial time for the Star Trek franchise, as Series V will have to attempt to lure back some of the viewers that left the franchise during Voyager's run. In order to do that, the studio's marketing machine will undoubtedly shift into overdrive mode to promote the new show as much as possible. Unfortunately, it now seems that the possible upcoming actors' strike might make a considerable dent in Paramount's ability to promote the show.

According to a report on Inside, some marketing executives in the entertainment industry are beginning to get worried that the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) will forbid its members to participate in any promotional and publicity activities during a possible strike against film and television producers. Such a strike could occur if SAG is unable to reach agreement with the producers over a new contract before the current one expires on the 30th of June.

For the moment, it seems SAG would be unwilling to call for such a boycott. "There's no prohibition against making an appearance to promote a previously shot movie," guild spokesman Greg Kizman told Inside.

However, the studios aren't so sure about this. During a three-month actors' strike in 1980, SAG members were ordered not to promote their work, as part of the guild's strike strategy. Rob Friedman, vice president at Star Trek studio Paramount, told Inside that "it wouldn't surprise [him]" if this would happen again. "One would assume the guild will tell its members that promoting is part of working and something they can't do during the strike."

Clearly, this could in fact have major repercussions for Paramount. Assuming the studio is indeed able to start production on Series V in March or April, and thereby get a considerable part of the first season in the can before the strike, it would still need to be able to promote the show. Especially in the case of such a high-profile series as Star Trek, the principal actors would be expected to participate in interviews and promote the series on talk shows, and without this it would almost be impossible to effectively market the series. In the worst-case scenario, Paramount might actually have to postpone the launch of the series, or risk letting it debut with a possibly inadequate amount of promotion.

More on this can be found in the full article, which also looks at the possibility that film release dates might be pushed back, and includes some more quotes from people in the industry.

In related news, the chances of avoiding a strike by Hollywood writers continue to be rising, as substantial progress appears to be made in the negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the producers.

Talks over the new contract are now already in their fourth week, two weeks after the initial deadline set by the WGA expired. While the fact that the writers were willing to continue talking was already seen as a good sign, apparently the two sides are now also actually getting closer.

Originally, the WGA had demanded that residual payments for VHS tapes and DVDs would double, arguing that writers had been underpaid ever since the introduction of home video. However, according to a Hollywood Reporter source the WGA has scaled back those demands considerably: "They came off of home video quite a bit."

Though they are now closer, the two sides are still very far from reaching an agreement, even if the wide gap between the writers' economical demands and what the producers said they could afford is now closing a bit. The other major issue on the table is that of creative rights, with writers demanding more credit and access to all stages of a film's production, which according to some sources is sitll an issue that could endanger the negotiations.

More on the Writers Guild talks can be found in the full Hollywood Reporter article. A background article on the reasons for a possible strike can be found here in the TrekToday archives.

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