January 29, 2009 / 4:11 PM / 10 years ago

Hollywood actors, studios set new contract talks

A general view shows the Screen Actors Guild National Headquarters in Los Angeles July 9, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Screen Actors Guild and Hollywood’s major studios will restart labor contract talks on February 3, both groups said in statements signaling a thaw in their chilly relations.

SAG, which represents some 120,000 U.S. actors, and the studio’s representative, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, will hold a new round of negotiations next Tuesday and Wednesday, the groups said late on Wednesday.

No further details were given and the groups said they would not comment further.

The announcements follow the ouster of SAG’s chief labor negotiator Doug Allen earlier this week by moderates of SAG’s national governing board.

SAG members have been without a film and prime-time TV contract since their old pact expired June 30, after negotiations collapsed and the studios presented what they called their “final” offer.

The two sides were most at odds over how actors should be paid for work on the Internet, seen as a main distribution pipeline for entertainment in the future.

Critics viewed Allen, hired by SAG in 2006 after two decades as a top executive at the union for National Football League players, as overly confrontational and unwilling to make the compromises necessary to close a deal.

Replacing Allen as chief negotiator is John McGuire, a longtime senior adviser to the union who has been instrumental in settling dozens of SAG contracts.

Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Alan Elsner

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