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Forced Exclusivity Terms in Actor Contracts Add a Dark Side to Hollywood’s Golden Age (Opinion)

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Duncan Crabtree-Ireland For too long, oppressive studio contracts forcing exclusivity have prevented series regular actors from being able to earn a consistent living, especially during extended periods when a show is on hiatus.They’re not being paid while on hold between seasons, but they’re also not allowed to accept other paying jobs.

These contracts mean that actors often find themselves collecting unemployment, struggling to pay their bills and unable to build a career.

Performers from underrepresented groups who already have fewer opportunities available to them, and often lower episodic rates, are hardest hit by these practices.How can California — a state that so often champions the rights of workers — allow such a system to continue?

The rules that allow for exclusivity were negotiated in the bygone, Big Three network era of television when a series had 22 to 26 episodes per season, and seasons were produced on an annual calendar.

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