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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 10:28 GMT
Hollywood strike talks 'possible'
Picket line
Pickets outside 20th Century Fox studios in Los Angeles
US writers will meet later this week to decide whether to hold informal talks with studio bosses, according to trade newspaper Hollywood Reporter.

There have been no formal negotiations since early December, and the strike is now in its 12th week.

The Writers Guild of America is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to talk directly to chief executives.

The strike has badly disrupted TV shows and put next month's Grammys and Oscars shows under threat.

If the talks proceed, it would be a similar procedure followed by the Directors Guild of America, which reached its own agreement with studios last week.

The DGA met studio executives informally before following those talks with actual negotiations.

This is a critical juncture in our struggle
Michael Winship
Writers Guild of America, East president

Informal talks would allow the writers to deal with more minor issues, such as the right to stage sympathy strikes.

It would also be an opportunity to deal directly with those who would approve a deal. Negotiations are normally conducted with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers trade body.

Writers Guild of America, East president Michael Winship e-mailed his members over the weekend.

"This is a critical juncture in our struggle. As this process unfolds, we ask for your patience," he said.

"No matter what you think of the DGA's tentative agreement, what is most important is that the guilds continue to work together in order to achieve our goal - a fair and just agreement for writers."

The Hollywood Reporter also said at least two "very senior" executives from News Corporation and CBS held "back-channel communications" with guild officials over the weekend.

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