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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Forward with Merger? SAG joins AFTRA in taking next steps.

SAG NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY ESTABLISHES MERGER TASK FORCE; ADOPTS SUCCESSOR UNION MISSION STATEMENT
April 30, 2011, 6:20pmFiled in: Member Alert

Guild Task Force to work directly with AFTRA counterparts to develop formal merger plan for approval by National Boards in January 2012.

Los Angeles, (April 30, 2011) – The Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors today unanimously approved the creation of a Merger Task Force to work with their AFTRA counterparts in developing a formal plan to unite SAG and AFTRA members in one union.

The Board’s resolution instructed the newly-formed Merger Task Force “to meet with representatives of AFTRA as soon as practicable, but no later than June 2011, to initiate the development of a plan to create a successor union formed from the best elements of both SAG and AFTRA.”  The full text of the resolution appears below.

Led by Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard, the Merger Task Force members were selected from among those who served on the Guild’s SAG-AFTRA Relations Task Force.

The National Board’s creation of the Merger Task Force elicited enthusiastic support from the Guild’s top officers.

SAG National President Ken Howard said, “The message from SAG and AFTRA members across the country has been clear – they want this done as soon as possible. If our boards approve the merger plan in January, our members will make the final decision through a referendum vote less than a year from now. I’m proud that we’ve taken a major step today, and I’m extremely grateful for the unanimous support of the SAG National Board. I also want to thank AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon, whose remarkable leadership has been essential in bringing us to this point.”

Screen Actors Guild National Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino said, “As treasurer, and as a member of both unions, I could not be more heartened. Not only will creation of one union increase our bargaining leverage, it will allow us to pool our resources to give members the protection they need by actively enforcing contracts and organizing new work.”

Screen Actors Guild 1st Vice President and Hollywood Division Chair Ned Vaughn said, “The entertainment industry is undergoing a transformation, and the only way for middle-class performers to remain strong is to have one union fighting for them with a unified strategy. I’m excited to be a part of making that happen.”

Screen Actors Guild 2nd Vice President and New York Division President Mike Hodge said, “The labor movement is under attack in this country. As performers, we have to fight back harder than ever before, and joining together in one union is the strongest way forward.”

Screen Actors Guild 3rd Vice President and Regional Branch Division Chair David Hartley-Margolin said, “Today’s action is a crucial step toward creating a new national union for media workers – one that will embody many of the tenets members across the country have been embracing for decades, both philosophically and in practice. We are finally seeing a light at the end of a long, long tunnel.”

In addition to establishing the Merger Task Force, the Board also adopted a draft mission statement for the successor union. The full text of the mission statement appears below.

The Merger Task Force was also authorized to engage advisors and create sub-workgroups in consultation with the SAG national executive director and other staff.

The recommendation and mission statement grew out of the work of the joint SAG and AFTRA Presidents’ Forum for One Union that has been meeting regularly since October. The Presidents’ Forum has held a series of member listening tour meetings across the country and, in early April, released a public statement reporting significant progress toward the goal of uniting SAG and AFTRA.

The statement also reported that Presidents’ Forum participants had unanimously approved both the draft mission statement and draft resolutions for consideration by the unions’ respective National Boards of Directors. At its meeting on May 14, 2011, the AFTRA National Board of Directors will take up a corresponding recommendation to establish a 13-member committee to work in concert with SAG’s Merger Task Force in developing a formal merger plan by January 2012.

Today was the first day of the SAG National Board of Directors regularly scheduled, two-day plenary at SAG headquarters in Los Angeles. The Board meeting will continue through Sunday.

Text of the National Board’s Merger Task Force Resolution

“The National Board hereby establishes a Merger Task Force to be comprised of thirteen members. The members shall be President Howard and twelve individuals as recommended by the President from among the members of the SAG/AFTRA Relations Task Force. The remaining members and alternates of the SAG/AFTRA Relations Task Force shall serve as alternates to the Merger Task Force, but will attend meetings only upon the request of an absent member of the task force or as designated by the chair if such a request is not timely made.

The Merger Task Force is hereby instructed to meet with representatives of AFTRA as soon as practicable, but no later than June 2011, to initiate the development of a plan to create a successor union formed from the best elements of both SAG and AFTRA. The Merger Task Force, in consultation with the National Executive Director and other staff, may engage any advisors and create any sub-workgroups it deems necessary to accomplish this goal. The Merger Task Force is further authorized to populate any sub-workgroups with members of the task force, alternates to the task force, other elected officials, or from the general membership of the union.

The Merger Task Force shall work with the AFTRA New Union Committee to prepare a merger agreement, constitution and dues policy in order to submit these documents to the Unions’ respective National Boards for approval in January 2012.

In furtherance of the above-mentioned actions, the Mission Statement attached hereto is adopted as the guiding document of this process.”

Approved unanimously

Text of The Successor Union Mission Statement

“The successor union (the successor union is used herein as a placeholder only) brings together two great American labor unions: Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.  Both were formed in the turmoil of the 1930s, with rich histories of fighting for and securing the strongest protections for media artists.  Our members united to form the successor union in order to preserve those hard-won rights and to continue the struggle to extend and expand those protections into the 21st century and beyond.

We are actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, dj’s, news writers, news directors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.  Our work is seen and heard in theaters, on television and radio, sound recordings, the internet, games, mobile devices, home video: you see us and hear us on all media distribution platforms.  We are the faces and the voices that entertain and inform America and the world.

The successor union is committed to organizing all work done under our jurisdictions; negotiating the best wages, working conditions, and health and pension benefits; preserving and expanding members’ work opportunities; vigorously enforcing our contracts; and protecting members against unauthorized use of their work.

A proud member of the AFL-CIO, the successor union partners with our fellow unions in the U.S. and internationally to seek the strongest protections for media artists throughout the world.  We work with governments at the international, federal, state, and local levels to expand protections for American media professionals both at home and abroad.

It is a core value of the successor union that our strength is in our diversity.  We are committed to the broadest employment and involvement of our members, regardless of gender, race, age, religious beliefs, disability, nationality, and sexual orientation or identification. The successor union strives to educate and engage members so that they may be full participants in the workings of their union. We are proud to be a model of inclusion, democratic organization and governance.“

Follow SAG Communications on Twitter (twitter.com/sagnews) and Facebook (facebook.com/screenactorsguild)

About SAG
Screen Actors Guild is the nation's largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists' rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.

An important time in SAG history

"If not now, when?"

Being on the national board of Screen Actors Guild is an exercise in marketing, legal issues, both the macro and the micro scale of the industry, political manipulations, turf disagreements, the passion of actors and performers (both working and those who are solid unionist despite their resume or most recent jobs) and much more.

It involves statistics, spread sheets, reading, study, conferences, debate, relationships, patience, action when needed, listening skills, persuasive skills, knowledge of a wide range of areas within the industry, knowledge of the differences in geography and work for the regions and branches, anticipating change and keeping local, regional and national members in mind, as well as performers who will become a part of the union and an asset to SAG in the future.

Board meetings are long, sometimes exciting, often tedious and always essential. While the heavy and hateful politics of recent years are behind us, there remain disagreements and differences in priorities by use of contract, amount of work under contract, geography, skill level and membership representation priorities.

The board duties and activities are not a question of attending meetings. The work starts there, with committees, work groups, research, side bar conversations, e-mail chains, Skype and Go to Meeting sessions and much more..Here are some of the areas I am involved in as a board member and the board is active in.

Movement toward one union...on various committees and work groups to help this become a reality. I am active on several work groups to make sure Nevada and small branches are considered.This past fall I passed on several local committees, and when I became Branch President and eventually Nevada's representative on the National Board, I gave up the chair and day to day operations of the Nevada conservatory I helped build.

Some key news..this is an historic we eked and history has been made. This is the second time around in my time on the board for movement toward a single union with our sister union AFTRA. A great deal has happened since that proposal narrowly lost the needed 60% vote margin within SAG. AFTRA hs picked up a great deal of television and other works once solidly SAG. Production has moved to the branches where AFTRA has a presence. Computers have made location work less essential and decreased the need for background and other union performers. We need merger to have the unified strength to put pressure on all aspects of the now vertically and horizontally integrated entertainment industry, much of which is controlled boy only six corporations.

"If not now, when?" - Ken Howard.

If the members approve it and the creek don't rise, we will be one union less than a year form now, with a board vote in January 2012, and ballot out no later than next March.

I am on several key task forces, so I really do wish to remain in my board position to continue this work.

Organizing and growing work in all areas, with a focus on new media, low budget and localized work for Nevada and other markets. I am active on several national committees in this area.

Doing more for less, as automation, shifts in how services are delivered and focus on essentials allow the Guild to improve member services, including contract enforcement. This will free up staff to do additional work benfiting the membership.

Being a signator an benfiting from union talent has never been easier. We have added on line access for producers to contracts in all areas of Guild representation, making it easier to access information, fill out paperwork and file it with the Guild. Of particular interest is that all filmmakers, at all budget levels, including students, now have access to ways to hire and use SAG talent.

Improvements, upgrades and increased use of SAG on the web, including navigation of the web page, web sites to help young performers, and potential upgrades of iActor.

Improvement and ways of using the members money in the most cost effective way to get the job done quickly and correctly (various committees I am on are working with staff in these areas).

Commitment to on-line rapid communications with members and the community, using e-mail broadcasts, Facebook, Twitter and other media and social media.

Improvements in SAG-TV and the resources it offers for talent at all levels of the industry.

Increased benefits for SAG members thought Union Plus (AFL-CIO) and SAG generated cooperative ventures with businesses.

The role of the branches in the union is changing in a positive way, as members in "fly over country" are having their voices heard through the Regional Branch Division.

Continued support and cooperation with New York and Los Angeles board members and members at large.

National legislative focus on battling anti-union movements and legislation in many areas, including Right-to-Work expansion, attempts to erode union security, work to expand and counter repeals of location based film incentives, strengthening the protection of our young performers, and protecting members rights wherever and whenever required.

Merger moves forward for SAG and AFTRA

Screen Actors Guild takes big step toward merging with AFTRA
From the LA Times Company Town


The Screen Actors Guild board of directors on Saturday moved significantly closer to merging with its smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

The board unanimously approved a mission statement for a consolidated union and agreed to create a task force that would work with AFTRA to develop a merger plan, including drafting a constitution and dues policy by January. AFTRA's board is expected to take similar action at meeting on May 14.

The proposed union would represent about 140,000 actors as well news broadcasters, recording artists, dancers and other performers.

"The message from SAG and AFTRA members across the country has been clear: They want this done as soon as possible, " SAG President Ken Howard said in a statement.

"Not only will the creation of one union increase our bargaining leverage, it will allow us to pool our resources to give members the protection they need by actively enforcing contracts and organizing new work," SAG National Secretary Treasurer Amy Aquino said in a statement.

Despite a growing consensus among union leaders that merging is necessary to give the unions more bargaining clout and avoid turf battles,  the sides will have to wrestle with a number of tough issues before the marriage can occur sometime early next year. For more details, see today's business story in the Los Angeles Times.

--Richard Verrier

RELATED

SAG board expected to proceed with AFTRA merger

AFTRA board gives two thumbs up on merger talks

Actors unions' board approves new film and TV contract

 
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This Saturday and Sunday in Boulder City...
Activities for kids and adults..
Live music
Beer, Margaritas, food...
Downtown.... BC

Health Fair This Wednesday at SAG National HQ

Screen Actors Guild
Hollywood Health Fair this Wednesday at SAG headquarters, open to all union members and their dependents.

Don't Miss Screen Actors Guild Annual Hollywood Health Fair | Screen Actors Guild
www.sag.org
Screen Actors Guild annual Hollywood Health Fair is open to all industry union members and their dependents. The event is sponsored by the SAG Hollywood Healthcare Safetynet Committee. When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, 2011 Where: SAG National HeadquartersJames Cagney Board Room5757 Wilshire B
Hard looking actor needed for short
Reply to: gigs-5egvq-2355871862@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

We are looking for hard looking actor to play pimp in short romantic movie.
We will need you for one or two days of shooting.
You will have a film credit on IMDb, copy of movie, food and drinks and lots of fun!
Thank you



Location: LV
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: no pay
PostingID: 2355871862

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Merger on SAG Agenda this weekend

THE REALLY HARD WORK STARTS NOW
From SAGWATCH.NET

When the Screen Actors Guild National Board meets Saturday morning the members will be asked to take major steps towards formation of one new union to unite SAG and AFTRA.

On the agenda:
1. Approval of a draft mission statement for the new union.
2. Appointment of the SAG task force which will direct the work of putting together the proposed new structure. 13 members and 16 alternates will be appointed.

Both items are expected to pass, along with a budget for the new union work.

AFTRA’s National Board will have the same agenda items when it meets next month, and is expected to pass them as well.

If things go as expected the formal discussions between the two task forces are scheduled to begin in mid June, with January 2012 as the target completion date. When the task forces finish their work the plan they come up with will get sent back to the National Boards of the two unions for discussion and an expected decision to refer the plan to the membership of the two unions in a referendum.

It will take a 60% vote in each union to approve the new union structure.


Above is from SAGWATCH.net

Performaces Cancelled at Onyx

Las Vegas Theatre Forum (ATCVegas)
Onyx Theatre posts: NOTICE: Due to unfortunate circumstances, this weekends performances of "I Am My Own Wife" are canceled. Thank you for your continued support of the Onyx Theatre and Off Strip Productions.
4 hours ago · Like ·
Short Sci-Fi Film project Casting Male Leads (Las Vegas, NV)

Reply to: gigs-36epw-2353980974@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

We are currently casting for a sci-fi short film. The film revolves around a single character and will contain various visual effects sequences. The purpose of the film is to create a unique, high quality experience that is not often utilized in the indie film scene, and to send the completed film to various film festivals in hopes of getting funding for future projects.

If you want to be involved in a project in order to have a unique piece for you reel, then look no further. Spaceships, foreign planets, machines, and other interesting otherworldly objects are planned to be a part of the production.

We are planning to shoot sometime in the summer, pending wardrobe creation, and some test shots. When shooting begins, it should only be a few shooting sessions in two local, outdoor locations.

As of right now we don’t want to hold a formal casting call and rent out a studio or anything like that, not yet. We are hoping to find someone through here or through referral. Please send head-shot, resume, and reel if available.

Any questions, please ask!

Non-Union

Compensation: Copy, Meals, Credit

---------------------------------------------------------
Mach - Starring / MALE / 22 TO 40
Mach is an augmented solider, part of a black op division that prevents galactic wars before they have a chance to occur. His body has been altered under his skin in order to make him a super-human weapon of war. His missions are often stealth related, so it isn't obvious at first glance that he is anything but a mere human being.

The character isn't very talkative and he looks like he has seen his fair share of battles, an eye patch and facial hair are immediately noticeable traits.

------------------------------------------------------
Reiner - Supporting / MALE / 30 TO 50
The villain of the story, he is the person behind building a weapon of war, prompting the events depicted in the film to begin in the first place.

This character sits behind a high tech desk, using robots and drones to scout the area, feeding them commands. He never is seen getting up from this desk, he is controlling everything behind the scenes.

The character is calm at first, but grows impatient and angrier as the story progresses.

Location: Las Vegas, NV
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: Copy, Meals, Credit
PostingID: 2353980974

Copyright © 2011 craigslist, inc. terms of use privacy policy feedback forum

Creative Rights Suit over NCIS Los Angeles

Don Bellisario, the creator "NCIS," has filed a lawsuit against CBS charging that he was denied a chance to participate creatively or financially from the spinoff "NCIS: Los Angeles." Bellisario, who was fired from "NCIS" in 2007, claims his contract gave him a "first opportunity" to be involved in future projects. CBS laughed off the suit, saying "the courts won't need Naval intelligence to conclude that the case has no merit." Coverage from Deadline Hollywood and Los Angeles Times.

Noises Off opens tonight at Judy Bailey, UNLV


Las Vegas Theatre Forum (ATCVegas)
Location: UNLV Judy Bailey Theatre
Time: ‎8:00PM Friday, April 29th

Ismene Vegas


  • Time
    Wednesday, May 11 at 7:00pm - May 17 at 9:00pm

    Location
    The Box Office
    1100 South Casino Centre Drive
    Las Vegas, NV

    Created By

    More Info
    Ismene
    a play by Jeremy Meneseoglu

    part of the Ismene Project, an intiative of Pintig Cultural Group, to raise funds for breast cancer support organisations in 7 cities around the world

    Five unruly women were banished to the School of Arktoi because they wouldn't give in to Fate. But one night, Fate and The Tragic Chorus come for them.

    Who will win this Battle? Only the Audience knows.

    starring

    BREON JENAY as Ismene
    DENDA BRINK as Procne
    DE'LIZA GALIMADI as Erin
    ARIANA MINER as Philomena
    JAMIE JONES as Iphigenia

    and BRANDON JONES as Te

    tickets $20 at the door or at www.showtix4u.com
    benefiting SUSAN G KOMEN OF LAS VEGAS

    MATINEES at 2pm on Saturday 14 May and Sunday 15 May


    Produced by Lee Ludwig Meyers
    Directed by Ruth Pe Palileo
    Assistant Directed by Ami Rebecca Meyers
    Stage Managed by Shawna Adams

    Original music by Kevin Brady

    Original artwork by Spent Pencils of Toronto, Ontario

    website: www.theismeneproject.webs.com
    donate via Paypal to the.ismene.project@gmail
  • Location: The Box Office
    Time: ‎7:00PM Wednesday, May 11th

Superhero Diaries II tonight at Insurgo


Neon for Flames | State of the Re:Union
stateofthereunion.com
SOTRU explores Las Vegas culture off the Strip through the lens of the fringe theatre movement.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Godsquad Movies auditions for staged "Beauty and the Beast"

beautyandthebeastlv@gmail.com


Auditions for The Beauty and the Beast Musical will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 9:30am to 12:30 pm at Calvary Chapel Christian School (7175 W. Oquendo rd. Las Vegas, NV 89113) in the multipurpose room.

We are currently searching for actors, dancers, and singers to play characters ranging from lead roles to ensemble parts. Please email a head-shot and resume to beautyandthebeastlv@gmail.com and we will send you more info on how to sign up for auditions.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you all at auditions.


Link to our website: http://www.wix.com/godsquadmovies/beautyandthebeast#

"When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you
with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it." 

- W. Clement Stone

LISTENING TOUR GOES TO OPEN MEETINGS

After dozens of sessions of sounding out elected leadership and activists in both SAG and AFTRA, the President’s Forum listening tour is opening up with sessions for general members set for both Hollywood and New York.  The first New York session is May 9, Hollywood is May 17.
Click "read more" below for
Official announcements (one for each):

Friday night only at CSN: Red Tag's "Snoopy the Musical"


Time
Friday, April 29 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Location
CSN Performing Arts Center
3200 East Cheyenne
North Las Vegas, Nevada

Created By

More Info
Come out for a great evening of family entertainment. Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang for a fun evening of song and dance.

CSN Performing Arts Center

Tickets $10 (benefitting Olive Crest)

for tickets, contact RagTagEnt@Yahoo.com

or call Sheryl Rios at 702 - 221 - 6224 ext 1707

or go to the CSN Performing Arts Center Box Office

Help RagTag raise money for a wonderful organization and introduce children to the performing arts.

Mullet?

gigs-gvhxs-2351839168@craigslist.org


Local Talent agency is looking for actors with experience and a mullet. This is a casting for a commercial. Please sent resume and head shots the auditions will be held next week. 

Note: This is from Cragslist and is a blind box, so use appropriate precaution in responding.

18-28 Actress Casting Call Today

gigs-umqsv-2351180922@craigslist.org 


Local Las Vegas production company, along with one of the creative mind's from the hit T.V. series Weeds, will be hosting a casting call for female talent to perform in pilot show. Actresses must be over eighteen but not older than twenty-eight years of age. Actresses should have previous experience in modeling and\ or acting. Please show up with a model appearance

Location : Alexis Park Resort Hotel April 28th and 29th in the executive board room..........1:00pm-4pm
Las Vegas Nevada

Thank you in advance

Wellwater Productions 

"Hairspray!" at Faith Lutheran Theatre


Faith Lutheran High School presents "HAIRSPRAY!" Get your tickets now atwww.FaithTheatreCompany.com

WGA OK's Contract with AMPTP


WGA members ratify 

three-year AMPTP contract


Master pact receives 90.7% approval from Guild

Yep, it's really done.
The Writers Guild of America has concluded the final step in its negotiations, with members ratifying a new three-year master contract. Bizzers can breathe a sigh of relief that a strike threat has vanished until 2014.
Three years after a bitter WGA strike shook Hollywood to the core, the guild notified its 12,000 members on Wednesday of the ratification, with 90.7% approving out of 1,952 votes. About one in six members cast ballots. Pact runs from May 2, 2011, through May 1, 2014.
It's an anticlimactic ending to a negotiating season most notable for its lack of rancor -- a vivid contrast from the acrimony of the strike that shut down the town for 100 days from November 2007 to February 2008.
The WGA deal also concludes the current negotiating cycle for Hollywood's four major talent guilds -- the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the WGA. The master contracts for AFTRA, DGA and SAG all expire on June 30, 2014, and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers issued a statement Wednesday noting that the WGA ratification means that as the economy recovers and the biz finds its footing again, employers won't have to worry about a strike for the next several years.

SAGWATCH puts WGA deal into perspective


WGA RATIFIES AMPTP DEAL

90.7% of the 1952 votes were in favor.
Variety. The Hollywood Reporter. The Wrap.
It’s more than a little ironic that the last of the big union deals this season was ratified just as media companies started announcing profits. The deals area all low in percentage raises and the media company profits are all sky high.
The only really good news in all the union deals is big bumps in pension and health contributions – but on a percentage basis they’re dwarfed by the increase in company profits and the raises the moguls gave themselves.

Universal Theme Parks future up for sale, Birth Certificate Fever, Big Profits in TV Land, the Terminator, and Katie Couric's Future


For once I'm glad I'm not cool. Hackers infiltrated Sony's PlayStation and snagged all sorts of personal data from its users. Among information Sony said was vulnerable: addresses, phone numbers, user names and birth dates. The company didn't say if credit card data was also exposed. Safe to assume it was. More from the Los Angeles TimesWall Street Journal and Reuters.
Thanks, Snooki. MTV parent Viacom Inc. reported on Thursday morning a second-quarter profit of $376 million, a gain of more than 50% from the same quarter a year ago. Much of the gain can be attributed to MTV and its hot shows including "Jersey Shore." Yes, your guilty pleasure is lining Viacom's pockets. Do you feel good about that? Early coverage from Bloomberg.
Studio and Media Profits Remain High. Viacom Inc. delivered strong second-quarter results, buoyed by its cable ratings success, including MTV's blockbuster "Jersey Shore," and 38% higher revenue at Paramount Pictures
Hollywood's film and TV writers have signed off on a new three-year contract. Members of the Writers Guild of America voted by a 91% margin to approve a recently negotiated contract that provides increases in contributions to the guild's pension plan, higher residual payments in pay TV and a bump in minimum pay levels, the guild said Wednesday. The contract takes effect May 2 and covers about 10,500 members
Do they get free rides? Comcast and General Electric Co. face their first big financial decision since forming their NBCUniversal partnership as private equity firm Blackstone has said it wants to unload its 50% piece of Universal's Orlando theme parks. Things get really complicated if NBCU does not buy the stake. Details from the Wall Street Journal.
I don't know even where my birth certificate is. While broadcast and cable news outlets were often dismissive of debates over President Obama's citizenship, the amount of coverage they gave certainly threw some gas on the fire. Just this weekend, while the CNN show "Reliable Sources" was ripping Donald Trump for all the free publicity he was getting on the subject, the network was promoting its own Anderson Cooper special on the topic. The New York Times looks at the media's part in keeping this "story" alive.
Change of heart? Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes has been quite outspoken about his lack of regard for Netflix, which many industry analysts see as a competitor to HBO. In an interview on Wednesday, though, he seemed to soften his tone on the company. This led Deadline Hollywood to question the Time Warner chief's mental state and the wisdom of his top communications specialist and led me to chuckle a little bit.
Everyone wants to take on Netflix. Looks like satellite broadcaster DirecTV wants to see if it can do battle with Netflix. The company is taking a survey of its customers to see if there would be interest in renting movies online. Dish, another satellite broadcaster, is also kicking those tires. The news from tech blog Zatz Not Funny. Really, that's its name.
Guess that $40-million pay package was well deserved. Discovery Communications, whose CEO, David Zaslav, had a compensation package worth more than $40 million in 2010, posted strong first quarter results Thursday morning. Profits at the cable programming giant jumped 80% to $305 million. Early coverage from the Hollywood Reporter.
Big package. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may be returning to the big screen.Deadline Hollywood says the one-time action star is "attached to star in a rights package that CAA (Creative Artists Agency) is shopping today that will revive The Terminator." Now I admit I'm not a Hollywood insider, so I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not quite sure what starring in a "rights package" means. I assume that is some sort of code for a movie deal. But I don't want to take anything for granted. Maybe Arnold is just starring in the deal talks.
Just don't do this in 3-D. TV and movie watchers are being exposed to a lot more these days when it comes to male nudity. The Daily Beast looks at this trend, which is sure to provide more jobs for special effects experts and more therapy for insecure actors.
Kiss me goodbye, Katie. Well, no one saw this coming. Apparently Katie Couric is leaving her job as anchor of CBS' evening newscast. I had no idea she was even thinking of taking on a new gig. Congratulations to People for landing this big scoop and even an interview with the low-key newswoman who keeps her cards close to the vest. The leading candidate to take Couric's place is veteran correspondent Scott Pelley. I will wait and see when Us Weekly pops that story. As for Couric, she is considering her options. That means either a big paycheck trying to launch a daytime syndicated talk show or some sort of news post at a network where she would make less money, but have at least a sliver of a chance to hold onto some credibility (if that matters). Coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles TimesTV Guide and Washington Post.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at Disney's new teen movie "Prom," which is the first film to have been given the green light by studio chief Rich Ross. Comcast makes a big push into video on demand. Weather Channel Chief Executive Mike Kelly has a sunny forecast.
-- Joe Flint