Directors Guild OKs Pact

The national board of the Directors Guild of America has approved a new
three-year contract that mirrors gains won by unions representing actors and
writers, including better compensation for programs produced for basic

The guild went into negotiations early with the Alliance of Motion Picture
and Television Producers to avoid the threat of a strike when the current
agreement expires in six months, according to the DGA.

The new pact, approved Dec. 15, includes all primetime dramatic programming,
whether it is shot on film, videotape or digital video. The latter format isn't
included in the current agreement.

When the agreement takes effect July 1, directors will earn higher residuals
for content for foreign distribution, broadcast television and basic cable.

As with the contracts for the other unions, Fox Broadcasting Co. will begin
to match the compensation rates paid to directors by the 'Big Three'
broadcasters and will be recognized as a network in 2005.

Feature-film directors will get bonuses if their movies lead to sequels.

The union will meet with studio and network executives within six months to
discuss ways to stem 'runaway productions.' Those are programs that shoot in
locations other than Hollywood and New York.

The unions are especially concerned about the stream of production work
flowing to Canada.

The pact will have to be ratified by a vote of the 12,416 members of the