Hollywood writers return to negotiations

Sunday, November 18, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood film and TV writers who've been on strike nearly two weeks will return to contract negotiations Nov. 26, their union and producers said Friday.

In a joint statement, the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said both sides had agreed to return to formal negotiations.

The statement said no other details would be released.

Meanwhile, the writers, who went on strike Nov. 5, continue on the picket line, said Gregg Mitchell, a spokesman for the guild.

Some writers applauded the decision to return to talks.

"That's fabulous, that's great," said Sean Jablonski, a writer for the FX drama "Nip/Tuck." "You can't get a deal until two sides sit down and talk about it."

"It's a good message to hear around the holidays," he said.

At the core of the contract dispute is compensation for shows offered on the Internet.

The producers group has said it's offering writers a share of licensing fees paid by Web sites to stream shows.

However, the union rejected the offer, saying the payments wouldn't begin until six weeks after a show goes online and viewer interest is nearly exhausted.

Since the strike began, late-night talk shows and some sitcoms have gone to reruns. Officials at other shows are counting down the number of episodes they have left before running out of scripts.

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