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Mike Manning discusses the SAG-AFTRA strike, and AI on the future of the industry

Actor and producer Mike Manning spoke about the SAG-AFTRA strike in Hollywood.

Actor Mike Manning and actress Leah McKendrick outside Walt Disney Studios in Burbank
Actor Mike Manning and actress Leah McKendrick outside Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Photo Courtesy of Leah McKendrick.
Actor Mike Manning and actress Leah McKendrick outside Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Photo Courtesy of Leah McKendrick.

Actor and producer Mike Manning spoke about the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in Hollywood.

Manning also addressed the impact of AI (artificial intelligence) on the future of the entertainment industry, especially in this digital age.

Background on Mike Manning

Manning has won two Emmy Awards for “The Bay,” created by showrunner Gregori J. Martin; one Emmy is for his work as a producer on the daytime drama series, and for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Fiction Program” for playing Caleb McKinnon in “The Bay.”

He is also known for playing “The Manny” in the NBC primetime drama “This Is Us,” as well as Charlie Dale on “Days of Our Lives.”

Manning on the importance of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes

“I think the WGA strike and the SAG-AFTRA strike are both significant for a lot of different reasons,” he said. “First, Hollywood as a whole has come to a crossroads in the industry in terms of audiences consuming content on streamers more than ever, now watching television more on streaming platforms than regular cable.”

“This requires us to make adjustments to the current residual structure for streamers, which are outdated from the days when Netflix was considered new media,” he added.

Supporting the SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement

He also discussed his support of the SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement. “I think the Interim Agreement is a great idea for a lot of reasons,” he said.

“First, in order to be granted permission to film, productions have to agree to all of the terms being asked for by the SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee. So it gives the committee concrete examples of productions doing it successfully to bring as ammo when talking to the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers),” he elaborated.

“Second, the agreement is a way that actors can continue to work during the strike, many of whom are already living paycheck to paycheck,” he said.

“Lastly, it is creating competition with the studios from smaller independent companies (not associated with the AMPTP), and most of these companies traditionally support fair treatment for actors and writers,” he added.

AI on the future of the entertainment business

Manning noted that actors and writers are having to bring the topic of AI into the negotiations. “These studios talk about artificial intelligence taking over certain aspects of script writing, or using an actor’s face and voice without their permission or paying nominal rates for background actors to use them in films again and again… and that should not be the case,” he said.

“These are issues we didn’t have to pay attention to before, but now we do,,” he underscored.

Latest endeavors

On his latest endeavors, Manning shared, “Well, of course I’ve been picketing at Netflix, Disney, and CBS, among others.”

“When I’m not doing that, I’m traveling a bit. I just got back from a friend’s wedding in Italy, and it was wonderful,” he admitted.

Clarifying his name

The actor also clarified the correct way of saying and spelling his name. It is indeed Mike Manning (as opposed to Mike C. Manning). “Well, if you ask my mom, I was born Michael Christopher Manning, which she would only use when she was mad at me,” he said. “The origin behind the confusion is this: I had to add the middle initial when I first joined SAG-AFTRA about a decade ago.”

“At the time, there was already a Mike Manning in the union. Then, I called again two years later, and I guess there wasn’t anyone with my name in the union anymore, so I was able to change it to just Mike Manning,” he explained.

“Honestly Mike Manning feels much more ‘me,’ and more authentic,” he admitted. “The other way felt just pretentious. So yeah, I am ‘Mike Manning’ professionally, as well as with SAG-AFTRA, the media, and in movies. Sometimes people get it wrong but it’s slowly correcting itself,” he acknowledged.

Samantha’s Friends benefit event

Manning revealed that he is looking forward to being a part of the “Samantha’s Friends” benefit fundraiser next weekend on September 9 and 10, which will be held in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Manning will be joined by several other daytime actors from such daytime shows as “Days of Our Lives,” “The Young and The Restless,” “General Hospital,” and “The Bay.”

This event benefits multiple nonprofit organizations, and it will have an ” Invasion of the Minions” theme to it. “They have been doing it for 27 years, and all of the profits raised from the event go to a variety of nonprofit charities,” Manning said. “I am very excited for that.”

To learn more about actor and producer Mike Manning, follow him on Instagram and check out his IMDb page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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