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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 11:26 GMT
Grammys hope for strike-free show
Kanye West
Kanye West is nominated for eight prizes at the Grammy Awards
Organisers of the Grammy Awards have asked striking US writers to let next month's ceremony go ahead with its script staff and star line-up intact.

The Recording Academy, which stages the music honours, has asked the Writers Guild Of America (WGA) for a waiver to let its members work on the ceremony.

Crucially, big name performers and presenters could stay away if there is no deal and writers picket the event.

A WGA spokesman said he "wouldn't bet on a waiver" for the Los Angeles show.

Writers members have been on strike since November in a dispute with film and TV producers over payments when their work is sold on DVD and online.

Golden Globes
The Golden Globes were announced at a press conference on Sunday
Their walkout has already forced the Golden Globe film and TV awards to be scaled back to a news conference after actors said they would not cross the writers' picket line.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said he would "take whatever action is necessary" to ensure the Grammys go ahead as planned on 10 February.

He said the ceremony's production company, Cossette Productions, was seeking an interim agreement with the WGA under the same terms that allowed writers to return to work on David Letterman's TV show on 3 January.

He stressed the Recording Academy supported the writers in their effort to get more money for digital content because the music industry had "for more than a decade been fighting to obtain fair and just compensation".

The Grammys ceremony was also "vital" to the music industry and creative community, he said, and it "literally saves lives" through its charitable contributions.

Striking writers
Writers are demanding payment for TV shows and films sold online
This year will be the 50th Grammys ceremony. Kanye West leads the nominations with eight, while Amy Winehouse is up for six awards.

"I wouldn't bet on a waiver, as much as we hate to see artists not get their recognition," WGA spokesman Jeff Hermanson told the Reuters news agency.

The Golden Globes failed to get a waiver from the WGA, forcing organisers into a radical rethink because members of TV and movie union the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) would have boycotted the event.

A number of high-profile Grammy nominees, such as Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Alicia Keys, are also SAG members.

SAG spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt said her union's members had been "unwilling to cross a picket line and we anticipate that solidarity will continue".

'Important work'

Two further unions representing Grammy performers - the American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists - have released a statement expressing "support for our brothers and sisters in the WGA".

But it also says they "strongly urge all of our members to support the important work of the Recording Academy by participating in the Grammy events".

Meanwhile, the WGA has given one ceremony the go-ahead by allowing its members to work on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards on 14 February.

"Because of the historic role the NAACP has played in struggles like ours, we think this decision is appropriate to jointly achieve our goals," WGA president Patric Verrone said.

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