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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 10:42 GMT
Studios 'united' in Hollywood row
David Letterman
Letterman's company is reportedly seeking its own agreement
The heads of Hollywood's major film and TV studios have issued a statement of unity as the US writers' strike enters its seventh week.

The statement came as the Writers Guild of America announced plans to bargain with the studios individually, instead of their umbrella organisation.

It said the studios' "common goal" was "to reach a fair and just agreement with writers and get back to work".

Talks between the two sides collapsed on 7 December, with no more scheduled.

The dispute centres on how writers should be compensated for their work when it appears on DVD or the internet.

Strategy

This latest stage in the ongoing war of words between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers began last week when the former's negotiating committee said it would "reach out to major AMPTP companies" and negotiate with them individually.

Craig Ferguson
Letterman's company also produces Craig Ferguson's CBS talk show
The CEOs of the eight main studios, however, acted quickly to counter this divide and conquer strategy.

Though they were "different companies" and "different businesses" with "different assets", they said, their combined resolve held firm.

Signatories included Paramount chief Brad Grey, CBS president Leslie Moonves and Robert A Iger of the Walt Disney Company.

The walkout has brought much of the television industry to a standstill and is beginning to disrupt film production as well.

'Interim agreement'

With no immediate end to the disruption in sight, US broadcasters are preparing to begin the new year with a series of reality shows and repeats.

Over the weekend, however, it appeared talk show host David Letterman was seeking to sidestep his host studio CBS and broker an "interim agreement" with the WGA that would allow his programme to return to the air.

Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants - which also makes Scottish comic Craig Ferguson's US talk show - said that, as an independent producer, it could negotiate with the Writers Guild separately from the AMPTP.



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