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Writers Guild plans to strike Monday

Movie and television writers are poised to picket on Monday unless an unlikely agreement is made with their studios, the first industrywide strike in Hollywood since 1988.
At a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday, leaders of the Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East said they would demand their members to stop work after midnight Sunday. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Writers Guild represents about 12,000 TV and film writers.
On Friday, writers spread leaflets outside NBC’s offices in Manhattan at Rockefeller Center, explaining why they are asking for a larger share of the billions of dollars in revenue collected by the studios and networks.
Producers, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, have refused to meet guild writers demand for a sharp increase in what they are paid for the use of movies and TV programs on DVDs and online. The producers argue, according to the New York Times that the major studios and networks must use new revenue to cover rising costs. The Washington Post says that studios aren’t meeting demands because they think it is too early to “divvy up the still-small? profits that new technologies generate.
The result of the strike is likely to be a gradual halt in the production of all television shows, with the exceptions news and reality programs, along with new movies. The fallout will be noticeable first among entertainment talk shows, many of which say they will air repeats starting Monday.
The Los Angeles Times, which has comprehensive coverage on this issue, not surprising since Los Angles stands to be the hardest hit by a strike, said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa met with guild officials earlier this week in an effort to help mediate the dispute, but “the parties were so polarized that few were optimistic about the probability of an eleventh-hour deal.?
If the strike is a long one – with the New York Times reporting “nothing in the bitter negotiations so far signals otherwise? – the strike “may well realign the industry’s relationship with Hollywood’s creative class.?
The Washington Post reports that the 1988 writer’s strike lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry an estimated $500 million in lost revenue.

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