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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 08:26 GMT
Hollywood writers to end strike
Striking writers picket in Hollywood
The Oscars are likely to go ahead now the deal has been ratified
US film and television writers have voted to end a three-month strike and return to work.

The back-to-work order was approved by 92.5% of the 3,775 Writers Guild of America members who voted after a deal was struck by leaders at the weekend.

Industrial action was sparked by a dispute over additional pay for work sold on DVD or over the internet.

The strike has crippled TV and film production and led to the cancellation of the Golden Globe awards ceremony.

"The strike is over. Our members have voted. Writers can go back to work," WGA president Patric Verrone said following the ballots held in New York and Los Angeles.

Union leaders agreed a deal on Sunday giving writers an increased share of the profits from TV shows and films offered over the internet and other new media.

"At the end of the day, everybody won," said the head of the CBS television network, Leslie Moonves.

Gil Cates
Our writers are going to be writing very fast
Oscars producer Gil Cates
"It was a fair deal... and it recognises the large contribution that writers have made to the industry."

The deal means the Academy Awards ceremony will take place as planned.

Oscars organisers had discussed a "plan B" that would see the glittering event become a star-free show filled with clips and film packages.

But, addressing his team at the Kodak Theatre on Tuesday, producer Gil Cates announced: "We're doing the A show!"

"This is a festive event," Cates told the crew of script co-ordinators, segment producers, security guards and seat-filler supervisors.

"We're all so pleased. [After] three months of striking, we're happy to be here now."

The show's team of seven or eight scriptwriters will burn the midnight oil to make sure the requisite quips and links are ready for host Jon Stewart on 24 February.

"Our writers are going to be writing very fast," Cates admitted.

Comebacks

The strike, which lasted 14 weeks, was the most damaging period of industrial action to hit Hollywood in 20 years.

Hugh Laurie
Fox's House starring Hugh Laurie is expected to return quickly
Some 10,500 writers stopped work on 5 November, a few days after their old contract with studios ended.

If writers return to work on Wednesday, the thousands of production staff who were put of out of work as scripts dried up will take weeks to mobilise while new material is prepared.

The strike is said to have cost Los Angeles' film and TV industry around $733m (374m), with the wider economy losing around $1.3bn (663m).

Studio executives say it will take about two months for new TV programmes to emerge.

Studios will have to decide which of the 65 affected series will come back, with hits House, CSI, Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives likely to get priority.

Iconic sketch show Saturday Night Live has already announced it plans to return on 23 February.

Films have not been been as severely affected because they have longer production times.

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Why writers have chosen to end the strike





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