The possibility of another Hollywood strike has become real again. The Screen Actors Guild has announced they will mail strike authorization ballots to its members on January 2, 2009, and will count the votes on January 23. For more info, see Variety.
This development follows after a reboot of negotiations with federal mediators recently failed in November, as we reported last month.
The vote requires a high threshold of 75% to approve the strike authorization, which is seen as giving union negotiators a much stronger bargaining position but does not in itself guarantee a strike will occur. However the producers group (AMPTP) has been loathe to give ground on payments for "New Media" formats such as Internet streaming, which industry observers believe will be the next important area as viewership continues to decline for broadcast television and DVDs.
If a strike did occur, unlike the past writer's strike, it would immediately halt ongoing productions including Lost, which has been filming Season 5 continuously since mid-August, and would thus be somewhere beyond the halfway point of the planned seventeen hours of programming.
So after January 23, check the news to see if your fix of Lost may be in jeopardy.
UPDATE: December 22, 2008 - The strike vote scheduled January 2 has been postponed, with an emergency SAG board meeting to be held January 12-13, due to the number of high-profile opposition from actors within the union. Read more at Variety here.