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Barry Diller Suggests Hollywood Executives and Actors Take 25% Pay Cut to End Strikes

Media mogul Barry Diller has proposed that top Hollywood executives and the highest-paid actors take a 25% pay cut in order to address the wage disparity in the industry. This suggestion comes as TV and movie actors have joined screenwriters on strike.

Diller, who is the chairman and senior executive of IAC and Expedia, believes that there may be an overpayment issue at the top end of the industry. In an interview on “Face the Nation,” he stated that “everybody’s probably overpaid at the top end.”

Actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists went on strike due to concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence on job security and the effects of streaming services on residual pay. The strike by writers represented by the Writers Guild of America began in May for similar reasons. This is the first time in six decades that both Hollywood unions have been on strike at the same time.

Diller attributes the current challenges faced by Hollywood to a “perfect storm” of events, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of streaming services, and the resulting financial losses for the industry.

If the strikes continue until the end of the year, Diller warns that it could have lasting consequences for the industry, potentially leading to an “absolute collapse.” He predicts a reduction in subscriptions and the subsequent loss of revenue for movie and television companies, resulting in a shortage of programs in the future.

However, Diller acknowledges that reaching a settlement may be difficult due to a lack of trust between both sides. As a good-faith measure, he suggests that executives and highly-paid actors should take a 25% pay cut to bridge the gap between higher and lower earners in the industry.

Diller also downplays concerns about artificial intelligence replacing actors or writers in the industry, stating that most performing crafts are not in danger of being automated. He believes that technology can be used to assist performers and writers rather than replace them.

Despite Diller’s proposal, some experts, such as Kara Swisher, co-host of the “Pivot” podcast, believe that the industry is facing a critical moment as it transitions to streaming. Swisher emphasizes the financial strain on companies and the challenges of determining the value and compensation of actors in this new landscape.

It remains to be seen whether Diller’s suggestion will gain traction or if alternative solutions will be proposed to end the strikes and address the ongoing issues in the Hollywood industry.

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