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Will the agreement reached by the Directors Guild lead to settlement of the three-month old WGA strike?

Beginning of the End for the Writers Strike?

The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) announced a deal yesterday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The highly anticipated deal was made as the Writer’s Guild Strike has now entered its third month. The film and television community (not only the writers, but actors and “below the line” workers) have been waiting with bated breath to see if the DGA agreement would lead to resumed talks between the Writers Guild and the AMPTP.

United Hollywood, the “unofficial” blog of the WGA strike captains, suggests some cautious optimism and some potentially good gains for the writers should the AMPTP use the DGA agreement as a template for resumed negotiations with the writers:

“There are some genuine gains here" says the United Hollywood Blog this morning. “Some issues that need clarification and some points of grave concern that threaten to drastically undercut writers' compensation.” United Hollywood stresses that their reactions are based solely upon the DGA’s summary of the agreement and without a careful and detailed analysis of the contract’s provisions. Some in Hollywood have suggested that the WGA strike influenced many of the gains achieved by the directors.

If the writers and conglomerates can get back to the table soon, some of the 2007-2008 television season may yet be salvaged, as well as a blow-up over the television broadcast of next month’s Oscars. Pushing Daisies executive producer Bryan Fuller told E! Online’s Kristin that if the strike is settled by mid-February, the series may be able to eke out another four or five episodes, but should that time pass without a settlement, the remainder of the regular 2007-08 television season will be scuttled.

Industry sources are suggesting that the WGA take the same tack as the directors had in advance of their agreement, which was to begin more informal talks with the AMPTP prior to actually sitting down at the bargaining table. The directors had reported that by the time they sat down at the table for the hard bargaining, they were already within “shouting distance” of the conglomerates on an agreement.

Obviously, since the AMPTP walked away from the negotiations early in December, insisting that the writers remove six provisions from their proposal before resuming talks, and all that has transpired since, finding a basis for talking civilly and without too much rancor is a priority. The AMPTP has held out something of an olive branch in its statement regarding the DGA agreement.

"We hope that this agreement with DGA will signal the beginning of the end of this extremely difficult period for our industry," said the AMPTP in a statement Thursday. Inviting the WGA back to the table, they expressed the hope that the WGA would "engage with us in a series of informal discussions similar to the productive process that led us to a deal with the DGA."

Optimism was expressed around Hollywood by actors including George Clooney and other industry insiders that the talks would soon resume.

"We look forward to these discussions, and to the day when our entire industry gets back to work," concluded the statement. Movie fans and television viewers, all of Hollywood, and even the producers can probably all agree on at least that!

About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books.Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."

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