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Daily Snack Latest Showbiz
Writers drop bid to unionise shows
23/01/08
The Hollywood writers guild said it would begin informal talks with studios after agreeing to drop proposals to unionise reality and animation shows that had contributed to a negotiations deadlock.

The talks between officials of the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will be aimed at resuming full negotiations, both sides said in statements.

Bargaining broke down on December 7 after the studios demanded that the union dropped half a dozen issues, including jurisdiction over reality and animation.

The guild agreed to withdraw those issues to "make absolutely clear our commitment to bringing a speedy conclusion to negotiations", union executives Michael Winship and Patric Verrone said in an email to members.

But organising efforts for guild representation in those areas would continue and be discussed more fully in the next two weeks, said Mr Winship and Mr Verrone, presidents of the East Coast and West Coast guilds respectively.

In a brief statement, the studio alliance said the informal talks would determine if "there is a basis for both parties to return to formal negotiations".

Both sides said a media blackout would be in place during the discussions.

Compensation for movie and TV projects distributed over internet is considered to be the central contract issue.

Guild leaders met studio chiefs on Wednesday to help get the negotiations back on track, according to a person familiar with the bargaining strategy.

The approach mirrored a series of meetings held by the Directors Guild of America and studio heads before they began formal talks and reached a tentative deal last week after less than a week of bargaining. Earlier, in an apparent goodwill gesture, the guild said it had decided against picketing the upcoming Grammy Awards.

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