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SAG-AFTRA Merger Approved by Board of Directors! Member vote next! Stars respond!

If you watched the SAG Awards last night, SAG President and upcoming guest-star on The Young and the Restless, Ken Howard,  revealed that the two acting unions, SAG and AFTRA were very close to an approved merger, as both union boards have approved the merger.  Now, it goes to its members for the final vote.

Seems many stars are mostly in favor of the merger and some cautious, according to Deadline.com, “The view of the pending SAG-AFTRA merger on the red carpet before last night’s SAG Awards was mixed.  Supporters far outnumbered detractors but many were cautious in their enthusiasm and concerned about potential hidden traps in the deal’s fine print. About 10% of the attendees, including SAG president Ken Howard and Alec Baldwin, wore SAG-AFTRA One Union lapel pins. Leading the support was Meryl Streep, who replied, ”The merger? I’m in favor of it.” Added Kenneth Branagh: “I do think that the whole debate has been very passionate. My feeling has been, as a 20-year guild member and as a member of AFTRA, to observe that the people are trying to protect the rights of actors and those who work in our business. So that ultimately is the end here.  Democracy has to be at work here. People have to take their own view on it. And this has to be very rigorously scrutinized and it will be.”

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) tweeted last night after the announcement on the live SAG Awards telecast, “SAG didn’t want to join with AFTRA last negotiations because they thought soap actors (Aftra) were losers. Now they love us. Angry!”  
AFTRA released its own press release on the status of the approval and negotiations  saying, “The National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO – a national union of more than 70,000 actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, recording artist and other performers who work across the spectrum of media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings and digital media – today voted overwhelmingly to approve and recommend to the AFTRA membership a plan to merge with Screen Actors Guild.

The vote was 94%-6% in favor. The AFTRA National Board’s resolution will provide for the referendum material to be mailed to AFTRA members on or about Feb. 27, 2012, with a ballot return and tabulation deadline of March 30, 2012.

This time frame was created  to avoid interfering with the ratification period for AFTRA members to vote on the tentative agreement for the AFTRA Network Television Code (“Front of the Book”) – the union’s largest contract that covers programming in all television day parts (except for scripted primetime programs on the major networks and the CW, which are covered under the AFTRA Exhibit A contract) and programming produced for digital media.

The AFTRA National Board unanimously voted to recommend the terms of the 2011-2014 Network Television Code agreement to AFTRA members for ratification. Ballots on the Network Television Code will go out on Monday, Jan. 30 with a return date of Feb. 22.

The Merger package outlines the merger plan, dues and finance structure, membership requirements and other basic attributes of the successor union, including the proposed name for the new union, which is SAG-AFTRA.

“I applaud the AFTRA National Board for their overwhelming approval of this historic merger package. The partnership we formed on the G1 was one of collegiality and consensus that went into laying the foundation for a new union. This plan embodies the thoughtful work and valuable perspectives from large and small markets across the nation of many working actors, broadcast professionals, recording artists and other performers who all worked together in solidarity through the G1,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “I thank the G1 for their good work, and the National Boards for their approval and we will now present this plan to the members of AFTRA and SAG for their review and approval.

“We now have the opportunity to finally stand united through one union to secure more union work and better benefits for our members, and for the generations of entertainment and media professionals who follow us,” she added.

On Friday, the SAG National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved the same merger package with a vote of 87.1% – 12.9%. With AFTRA’s vote, a referendum will be sent out for a vote by members of both unions.

In voting for the package, AFTRA National Board members passed a resolution that read, in part: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Board, in accordance with its authority under AFTRA’s Constitution, approves the merger documents and the merger of AFTRA and SAG into SAG-AFTRA, a unified, powerful union committed to organizing all work in our jurisdictions, negotiating the best wages, working conditions and health and pension benefits, preserving and expanding our members’ work opportunities, vigorously enforcing our contracts and protecting our members against the unauthorized use of their work; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Article XX of AFTRA’s Constitution is interpreted so as not to apply to a transaction, such as this merger, in which all of AFTRA’s rights, liabilities, contracts and collective bargaining agreements will be assumed, without impairment or interruption, by a successor union; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the National Board expresses its deepest gratitude to and commends the members of AFTRA’s New Union Committee and AFTRA’s staff for their herculean efforts and extraordinary work in completing the merger documents and concluding the merger negotiations.

The G1 began meeting in June of 2011 and held a total of five rounds of meetings to create the successor union merger package. The meetings followed an historic Listening Tour conducted by AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and SAG National President Ken Howard. The G1 voted to approve the merger package on Jan. 16.

The Network Television Code contract generates more than $250 million a year in member earnings and covers a variety of media and entertainment professionals, including sportscasters, broadcasters, actors, singers and talk show hosts. Current programs covered by this contract include: “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Voice,” The Young and the Restless,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Nightline,” “Dancing with the Stars,” and “Late Show with David Letterman.”

So just how will this impact soap operas and their stars?  Stay tuned!

 

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As I watched the SAG awards last night I wondered why there is not a category for Soap Actors.

I agree. Although they did include Mary Fickett (original Ruth Martin, AMC) and Doris Belack (Anna Craig, OLTL) in the Memorium segment.

I am very interested in how this will affect soaps. At least the ones that have no plans of cancelling.

Is it just me or is this not very interesting?

??? Does any of this mean “One Life To Live” is coming back? lol

We sure wish!

General Hospital

‘General Hospital’ Reignites Scott’s Feud with Sonny Over His Past Misdeeds of His Late Daughter, Karen Wexler

In what now seems like many moons ago, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) was a small-time mobster who owned a strip club in Port Charles. He enticed a young Karen Wexler (Cari Shayne) to work as a stripper at the Paradise Lounge.

But things got worse from there! Sonny convinced Karen that stripping was her idea, and he eventually got her hooked on drugs and into his bed!

Karen’s father, Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner) has never forgotten what Sonny did Karen and for years wanted to take him down when he was the D.A. Fast-forward and on Wednesday’s February 28th episode of GH, Scott visited Karen’s gravesite on her birthday.

Courtesy/ABC

However, Scott had a visitor at the gravesite when John “Jagger” Cates also showed up to pay respects to his ex-wife.  This was the first time Scott laid eyes on the new incarnation of “Jagger’ on-screen as played by Adam J. Harrington.

Scott realizes he might have an ally to put the screws to Sonny after John reveals the pain and sorrow he still has over what Sonny did to Karen. Speaking to his former son-in-law about the break-up of his daughter’s marriage to him, Scott pipes up that Sonny, “walks around like he’s the mayor.” Then, Scott shouts to John, “Make him pay! Take him out!”‘

Photo: ABC

In Karen’s backstory: after getting help, Karen was reunited with “Jagger” and left Sonny. The two married and left Port Charles. Karen returned as medical student and had divorced “Jagger” in 1997, and the character landed on the General Hospital spinoff soap opera, Port Charles. Eventually, Karen was struck by a car and died. Three actresses played the role during Karen’s history: Cari Shayne, Jennifer Hammon and Marie Wilson.

Watch Scott and John talk about their vendetta against Sonny Corinthos in key scenes from GH below. Now let us know, do you think Sonny should pay for his manipulation of Karen Wexler many years ago? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Kate Mansi on Her First Scenes with Eva LaRue: “It Was So Tense and Uncomfortable, Which Was So Fun For Us.”

This week, General Hospital viewers have witnessed the arrival of Eva LaRue as Blaze’s (Jacqueline Grace Lopez) mother, Natalia. When Natalia blew into her daughter’s life, she also caught Kristina (Kate Mansi) in bed. The next moment, Mansi and LaRue played the awkwardness of the scene.

In the story, and at that point, Natalia apparently didn’t have a clue that her daughter is gay, so finding Kristina is her daughter’s room was puzzling to her.

Kate Mansi spoke to Soap Opera Digest on her introduction to soap veteran LaRue, who has appeared on All My Children as Maria Santos and won a Daytime Emmy for her role as Celeste Rosales on The Young and the Restless.

Photo: JPI

“She just came in like such a freaking pro,” shared Kate on LaRue. “She was so good. It was such a funny first introduction for our characters – it was written so well and it was so tense and uncomfortable, which was so fun for us.”

The two actresses instantly created a bond. As Mansi explained, “Right away, we were doing these funny one-liners back and forth (between scenes). Blaze said something like, ‘Kristina is more than my friend, she’s my partner,’ and then they’d call, ‘Cut!’ and Eva and I would look and each other and we’d be like, ‘She means writing partner,’ or she’d be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, she means producing partner, right?’ We were just dying laughing.”

Photo: ABC

On Wednesday’s episode of GH, Natalia learned Blaze was gay, but isn’t quite believing her, thinking she had been somehow influenced by Kristina.  In the key scenes, Blaze tells Natalia that Kristina is more than her friend. She’s her girlfriend. Blaze asks if her mother heard what she truly said, and Natalia claims she did, but then starts cleaning up the place as a method of trying to cope with what she just heard.

Things get testy when Blaze says, “Kristina and I…” Next, Natalia cuts her daughter off, firmly saying, “There is no Kristina and you!”

So, did you enjoy the tension-filled scenes between Kate Mansi and Eva LaRue? Are you liking where GH is heading with the story of a disapproving and religious mother, trying to come to terms with her daughter and her girlfriend’s sexuality? Comment below.

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All My Children

Maurice Benard Reveals All My Children’s Lee Meriweather and Daughter’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

At the beginning of the latest episode of General Hospital star, Maurice Benard’s (Sonny Corinthos) State of Mind series, he delivered some heartbreaking news with a purpose.

Kyle Oldham, the daughter of former All My Children star, Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth Martin), who previously made a guest appearance on Benard’s show, returned for a new interview which will be coming soon.

During their conversation, Oldham shared that her beloved mother has Alzheimer’s. Sadly, according to Benard, Kyle also revealed she has been diagnosed with the disease as well.

Photo: JPI

Maurice expressed, “We talked about her mother and having Alzheimer’s and it was an amazing interview. And then Kyle said, ‘I gotta tell you something. I have Alzheimer’s.’”

Apparently, Kyle has agreed to come on State of Mind, periodically as the effects of Alzheimer’s take a hold of her to help educate others. “We decided that she was gonna come in … she was gonna call me and tell me as she progresses,” Benard shared. “She was going to come in again so the audience could see with their eyes what Alzheimer’s does to someone.”

Benard’s guest for this current episode of State of Mind was Vernee Watson (Stella, GH), who along with Maurice, was part of the Alzheimer’s storyline on the ABC daytime drama series that saw Mike Corbin (Max Gail) eventually pass away.

Photo: JPI

As for Lee Meriwether, not only is she known for her role on AMC, but also for her roles as Catwoman in Batman: The Movie, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and for the television series, Barnaby Jones, the New Andy Griffith Show and The Munsters to name only a few.

In soap operas, Meriwether was cast in The Young Marrieds years prior to her time on All My Children where she replaced Mary Fickett in the matriarchal role in the Martin family. She played the role from 1996-99, 2002-03, and 2007-11.

Meriwether’s daughter, Kyle Oldham, has been an actress and spokesperson herself through the years. She appeared on The Price is Right for over 14 years until she couldn’t anymore after going through multiple surgeries in her adult life.

You can check out the full episode of State of Mind with Maurice an Vernee below.

Share your thoughts on the sad news of both Lee Meriwether and her daughter Kyle Oldham, battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the comment section below.

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