What’s the big deal with SAG deal?

The new contract hammered out by the actors’ unions and TV and film producers calls for actors to receive a 3 percent raise in their current $617 minimum daily scale in each of the next two years and a 3.5 percent raise in the third year, published reports said Thursday. (“Nice work if you can get it,” commented Thursday’s Forbes.com. “The problem for most actors is, and will be, that they often can’t get it.”) The two sides also hit upon a complicated arrangement for boosting the amount of money actors will receive when films and TV shows are sold to cable. Under it, producers will reduce deductions from actors’ paychecks that go to the union’s health and pension fund and pay the money instead directly to the actors. However, the producers agreed to increase their own contributions to the health plans. The new contract also reportedly calls for a substantial increase in salaries for guest stars and stunt coordinators and includes sketchy provisions for work performed on the Internet. (Thursday’s Wall Street Journal said that the two sides had largely decided to put aside issues involving the Internet because of the difficulty in determining how it will develop in the future.) Under the agreement, actors appearing on programs carried by Fox Broadcasting will for the first time receive the same minimum salary as those appearing on the three other major networks.