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AFTRA Members Approve New Contract


As expected, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists overwhelmingly approved its agreement with the studios and networks on a new contract covering shows including Deal or No Deal, American Idol, Survivor, Late Show with David Letterman and Oprah.

AFTRA said 93.35% of its members approved the new three-year contract, which extends from Nov. 16, 2007-Nov. 15, 2010.

The so-called Network Television Code covers all on- and off-camera talent for syndicated dramas; daytime serials; game shows; talk shows; variety and musical programs; news; sports; reality shows; and promotional announcements. Not covered are primetime dramas and sitcoms.

"The new code provides increased wages, improved working conditions and stronger protections for AFTRA members working across all program formats," AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon said in announcing the vote. It also covers "reuse and production of content in new media as it evolves," which is the elephant in the room in virtually all contract talks in the media industry.

The tentative agreement was struck in early March, and it was approved unanimously by the AFTRA national board March 29.

Next up are sitcoms and dramas. Negotiations on a new contract for actors and all on- and off-camera talent on those shows are slated to begin May 5. The current contract expires June 30.