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Trouble Brewing with BSG Season 4

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Trouble Brewing with BSG Season 4

Old 11-20-07, 04:54 PM
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Trouble Brewing with BSG Season 4

http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/11/19/ba...n-in-jeopardy/

Is the final season of Battlestar Galactica in danger now because of the ongoing WGA (Writer's Guild of America) strike? According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, NBC Universal is utilizing the force majeure clause in SAG (Screen Actors Guild) agreements to suspend actors' and actresses' working contracts. The clause indicates studios and networks can do this if production is halted on their shows.

It looks like letters have been sent to the casts of such shows as The Office, 30 Rock, Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica. Sony Pictures has sent similar letters to the casts of Til Death and Rules of Engagement, indicating that more letters could be forthcoming from other studios if the strike lingers.

In the piece, one of the actors from Galactica stated that "we are on suspension without pay. We are not terminated. We are on hold to BSG with no pay in perpetuity until the strike is over. When the strike does end Universal/SciFi will then decide whether they want to bring the show back or let us go. Until that time we are in first position with BSG and will have to clear any other project with SciFi/Uni. They are not following article 61 of the SAG agreement and are about to get a lot of calls from SAG lawyers. They say that since we have shot the minimum 13 episodes of this season, as per our contracts, that they are under no obligation to pay us or let us go. We are essentially on hiatus."

This power play move essentially forbids the actors from finding work elsewhere while the show's production remains shut down. SAG says that since the terms of Article 61 are breached, actors can terminate their deals and try to find work elsewhere. All of this means that in a prolonged strike situation, actors hungry for work may try to exercise this right, terminate their contracts on their current shows and find work elsewhere.

Then, when the strike ends, the studio gets to decide if it wants to go back and finish the series, and for any actors who've opted out of their contracts, they'd have to be resigned to new contracts. To fans of the show, like myself, this is a no-brainer. Rehire everyone and finish it up, right? But to network bigwigs, it comes down to the bottom line. BSG ratings have slipped since its premiere, and a prolonged break between halves of its final season could impact those numbers even more.[/B] And what if a shiny new show comes along in the meantime with big ratings? On the other side, if a principal actor sings a conflicting contract on another project, they might not even be available to return. Depending on how it shakes out, will it be worth it to the network to bother finishing the series?

While this scenario could impact any shows in which these letters have been sent, with BSG filming its final seasons, you'd have to figure that a secondary actor on that show would be much more likely to jump on another job opportunity than someone on a show that has a future beyond a few more episodes, like The Office. Ron Moore, on his blog, says "I refuse to believe that we won't finish, that we won't be back to film our final stories, but I know and accept there is that possibility. The strike will be a seminal event for many of us in this business as it's put literally everything we care about in the balance (if only for a short time so far) for something we all believe is important. ... Galactica's coming back, I frakking promise you that. But I am ready to put the rest of the story on the table and take the risk that I'll never be able to tell it, in support of this strike. Like Adama says, you make your choices and then you live with them."

Of course, in the worst possible scenario, he could always continue the series in comics the way Joss Whedon is doing with both Buffy and Angel. He's already got BSG comics coming out, so the deal is in place. Or go straight to film a la Whedon's Firefly. Wow, come to think of it, Whedon really doesn't know when to let go. His series end and he has to find a way to keep them going. That's either perseverance or stubbornness. But the man finds a way to make it happen. Maybe we need to get him into the negotiating room after Thanksgiving?
Old 11-20-07, 07:08 PM
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BSG's ratings have slipped due to ridiculously long hiatuses, lack of exposure (season three ended in March, where are the reruns, not to mention the S3 DVDs?) and meddling from the network in the form of stand alone episodes that are a waste of time. They had a chance to actually make the sci-fi in sci-fi channel mean something, but they'd rather let it sit on the shelf while they run professional wrestling and made for TV movies about giant snakes.

And we're still getting new episodes of Flash Gordon and Stargate Atlantis.
Old 11-20-07, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
And we're still getting new episodes of Flash Gordon and Stargate Atlantis.
Old 11-20-07, 08:20 PM
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They must have shown the razor (and tin man) promo a billion time.

I didn't realize s3 ended last March. Wow.
Old 11-20-07, 09:08 PM
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Crossroads Part 2 aired march 25.

I'm looking forward to Razor, and think it's a great idea to extend the series and explore the backstory of the characters. I just hope they don't use it as a justification to slap together a two part "mini-series" to end the series prematurely.
Old 11-20-07, 10:59 PM
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there is a lot of misinformation in the article. If indeed they have shot their guarantee (in other words, the initial season episodic order), then yes the studio has fulfilled their duty to the actor and is in first position until the next pick up date (usually June 30th). After June 30th, these actors would be automatically released or new pick up notices would need to be sent (including traditional bumps in salary, etc.). There is no breach here and the actors are held to BSG.
Old 11-21-07, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mhepburn20
there is a lot of misinformation in the article. If indeed they have shot their guarantee (in other words, the initial season episodic order), then yes the studio has fulfilled their duty to the actor and is in first position until the next pick up date (usually June 30th). After June 30th, these actors would be automatically released or new pick up notices would need to be sent (including traditional bumps in salary, etc.). There is no breach here and the actors are held to BSG.
It sounds to me like that's something at least some plan to challenge. It may be another wrinkle in all of this.
Old 11-21-07, 08:27 AM
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How many episodes of season 4 have already been filmed?
Old 11-21-07, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Alvis
How many episodes of season 4 have already been filmed?
I believe the first ten (out of twenty).
Old 11-21-07, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by aintnosin
I believe the first ten (out of twenty).
Since Sci-Fi isn't planning on airing the second half of S4 until 2009, this doesn't surprise me in the least.
Old 11-23-07, 06:36 PM
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I'm not sure I get it. If everyone is still on strike, then who will these actors sign up with rather than stay around? I would think the strike stops new projects from getting started, doesn't it?

Maybe they'll go to Broadway or something, but that doesn't seem like something for me to spend time worrying about.
Old 11-23-07, 07:35 PM
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Well, Broadway's not an option right now either. They have their own strike going on. As much as I'd love to see Michael Hogan doing a turn in Spamalot.
Old 11-23-07, 09:12 PM
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The reason Razor was even done in the first place is that, despite the ridiculously high prices, the BSG DVDs sell like crazy. When they realized that S4 wouldn't be starting up again till at least Jan 2008, they wanted something to sell for Christmas, thus the S4 order was for 22 "hours". The first two are Razor, and I believe they've shot ten more, so that technically makes 14 hours.

Anyways, I'm have no doubt we'll see the end of the story filmed, if only because Universal wants more DVDs to sell.

A bit of warning, I can totally see them splitting up S4 on DVD like they did season 2. So start your pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth now. I'm going to go find more stuff to list on half.com to pay for it all.

Last edited by milo bloom; 11-23-07 at 09:16 PM.
Old 11-24-07, 12:14 AM
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Now I just realized the timing - the holiday weekend and no Atlantis or Flash Gordon this week. Just weird scheduling. Should have picked a better date to air Razor.

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