Like the writers before them Hollywood actors want a bigger piece of the digital pie.

Published June 26, 2008

Like the writers before them Hollywood actors want a bigger piece of the digital pie.

With their SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) contracts expiring soon actors are prepared to put down their props and pick up their picket signs after Monday if they can't come to a satisfactory agreement with studios and networks.

The issues between the actors and writers are similar. With the digital platform blowing up, studios and networks stand to make a lot of money distributing product on the net. If the actors do decide to strike, it probably would be around July 8 when the two actors unions would vote to authorize a strike. That would mean nearly 150,000 actors would be out of work and couch potatoes would be out of options.

During the three-month long writers strike the film industry lost more than $1.5 billion. If the actors, many of whom are scheduled to return to work on new and existing fall TV shows next month, walk that figure could triple.

"It would be a terrible thing for everyone," said Gabrielle Union, who will next be seen in "Meet Dave" with Eddie Murphy. "It would be devastating, especially coming on the heels of the writer's stike. I don't think this town could take another blow like that. "

And what about us TV and film fans? We can't sit through another season of reruns of good shows that we love and/or bad shows that seem even badder when you have no options. To try and alleviate that possibility studio and network heads have been trying to stockpile episodes of their shows. "Bones," a Fox drama. and "My Name is Earl," an NBC sitcom began shooting last month, a full month ahead of time.

Stay tuned. "On Demand" might become the two most famous words in our collective vocabularlies.

Written by Miki Turner


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