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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 16:18 GMT
Studios 'cut contracts' in strike
Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman is reported to be among the casualties at CBS
Five American TV studios have cancelled dozens of staff contracts as the writers' strike continues, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Over the last few days, ABC, CBS Paramount, Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers are said to have dropped producers, directors and writers.

Among the reported casualties is actor-producer Hugh Jackman who was developing a new series for CBS.

The studios have made statements blaming the two month-long strike.

On Friday ABC Studios reportedly slashed nearly 30 overall deals, the largest number.

The other four studios have followed a similar strategy, though the numbers are smaller, Hollywood Reporter said.

CBS Paramount Network TV and 20th Century Fox Television dropped about half that number. Universal Media Studios and Warner Brothers TV ended fewer than 10 deals each.

Pilots in peril

Overall the moves are expected to save the studios tens of millions of dollars.

Most of the staff affected are writers, producers and directors who are developing ideas or waiting for new projects.

January is usually a busy month as it is the start of the pilot season, when new programmes are tested. But with the writers' strike continuing, there is a lack of scripts to choose from.

Writers can expect between $500,000 (254,000) and $2m (1.015m) a year to develop ideas for new shows.

The strike was called because writers want a new contract with film and TV studios that would give them more money when their work is sold on DVD or downloaded or streamed online.

The previous contract expired on 31 October and the two sides have not been able to agree a new deal.

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