Hollywood Exhales: Actors, Producers Make a Deal!

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    UPDATE: By a narrow 53 percent to 47 percent, the SAG board voted Sunday afternoon to approve the tentative two-year pact, which includes a 3.5 percent pay bump. Now the full guild membership must vote to ratify the deal, with balloting taking place in about a month.

    Our long national nightmare is over.

    After nearly a year's worth of posturing, the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Friday announced a tentative agreement to keep peace in Hollywood.

    Details of the new two-year deal, which covers television and film projects, will not be disclosed until the SAG board of directors gets together Sunday night to determine whether to approve the terms.

    At that point the board will announce the fine print to the guild's 120,000 members for ratification.

    The threat of a strike has loomed over Hollywood since the old contract expired in June 2008. Over the better part of the year, the two parties have engaged in some bare-knuckled brinkmanship that saw SAG split with fellow acting union the American Federation of TV & Radio Artists and internal strife that led to the ouster of SAG's prostrike president, Alan Rosenberg.

    After the 70,000-strong AFTRA struck an agreement with producers in July 2008, many SAG members believed the guild's negotiation position was weakened and pushed for a quick resolution, with A-listers lined up on different sides of the issue.

    George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Cameron Diaz, Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Charlize Theron, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman and Eva Longoria Parker sought an accord, while Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Martin Sheen, Sandra Oh, Jerry O'Connell, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould, Justine Bateman, Scott Bakula and Diane Ladd pushed for hard-line tactics, including a work stoppage.

    In February, SAG rejected a "last, best and final offer" for a new contract from AMPTP, setting the stage for a union-authorized strike vote, which ultimately never happened.

    (Originally published April 17, 2009, at 2 p.m. PT)

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