The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have come to an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year television and theatrical contract, the guilds announced last Thursday. The agreement increases minimum pay rates by 3 percent annually and increases employer contributions to providing health care. SAG and AFTRA estimate the gains to be worth $200 million. But actors gained no ground on the contentious issue of DVD residuals. The deal includes increased residuals for WB and UPN actors and for made-for-pay-TV performers. If approved by a guild joint committee and union members, the agreement would run from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2008.
NEP to Hold Exit-Polling Data Until 6 p.m.
Exit-polling data collected by the National Election Pool in the future will not be delivered to NEP clients-chief among them the six national news organizations that fund and run the NEP-until 6 p.m. (ET) to limit the possibility of repeating what transpired on Election Day 2004, when early leaks of incomplete data raised misleading expectations that Democratic Sen. John Kerry would be elected president. An internal review conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International, the companies that handle polling for the consortium that consists of the news divisions of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press, concluded the 2004 national election polls were “not as accurate” as past polls. However, the report, posted last Wednesday, said the exit poll data did not lead to any incorrect projections of winners.
AmberBock to Sponsor `World Poker Tour’
WPT Enterprises has announced that Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob AmberBock will sponsor the third season of “World Poker Tour” on the Travel Channel, becoming the official beer sponsor of the show. Season three of “WPT” kicks off March 2. AmberBock television spots will air on all of season three’s Travel Channel telecasts. Additionally, viewers will see the AmberBock logo on the televised table felt and on in-show graphics for the hole card camera segment.
Interpublic Acquires Stake in Endeavor
Ad agency holding company The Interpublic Group has acquired a minority stake in Endeavor Marketing, the corporate entertainment marketing division of talent agency Endeavor, and has entered into a consultancy agreement with Mark Dowley, the division’s chief executive. One of Endeavor Marketing’s clients is American Express, but the firm works mostly on a one-off project basis with advertisers. Mr. Dowley has worked with Interpublic before and will be retained by the company on an exclusive basis.
BBC America to Relocate, Restructure
Recently hired BBC America President and CEO Bill Hilary announced a plan last week to help get the network back on track following a ratings slide. The plan includes relocating the network’s headquarters from Maryland to New York, a programming budget increase and the hiring of Mr. Hilary’s former Comedy Central colleague Kathryn Mitchell as general manager. Though the network’s programming budget will increase, the channel will continue to run only BBC television shows and will not expand to U.S.-produced programming, Mr. Hilary said. Mr. Hilary came to BBC America late last year from Comedy Central, where he was general manager. BBC America has suffered a gradual ratings decline in recent quarters since the conclusion of its breakout hit “The Office.” Mr. Hilary said the network’s over-reliance on makeover programming contributed to the slide. The move to New York will begin in June. Meanwhile, David Bernath is leaving BBC America to join Comedy Central as senior VP of programming, replacing Ms. Mitchell.
ABC Unlimited Changing Its Name
The Walt Disney Co.’s multiplatform ad sales division ABC Unlimited will change its name to Disney-ABC Unlimited to reflect the growing role of ABC Unlimited across the entire Walt Disney Co., executives said. ABC Unlimited has done deals for a number of ABC broadcast TV, cable, radio, theme park, print and home entertainment properties. Last year it put together about $400 million in deals. An ABC spokeswoman declined to comment.