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Hollywood writers strike may deal devastating blow to awards shows

Posted by jahanzaibmemon on December 19, 2007

The lingering strike of TV and movie writers in Hollywood may deal a devastating blow to the upcoming Golden Globes and Academy Awards shows, which have already seen a steady downtrend in viewer ship in recent years, event organizers and industry observers said Tuesday.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA), which launched the strike last month demanding for writers’ share in the entertainment industry’s online revenues, announced late Monday to deny waivers to the producers of the Golden Globes and the Oscars shows.

Signs are piled up at the end of a rally of striking members of the Writers Guild of America, West in Hollywood, California Nov. 20, 2007. (Reuters, File Photo)

The decision means that the union will not allow its striking members to prepare material for next month’s 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards and February’s Oscars show.

Meanwhile, the union has also denied the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ routine request for permission to use clips from films and past Academy Awards shows during the 2008 ceremony.

“The Golden Globe Awards, which has a long and friendly relationship with the Writers Guild of America, is obviously disappointed that the WGA denied its request for a waiver,” said the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Golden Globes’ organizer, in a statement.

The writers union’s tough stance essentially makes the high-gloss awards shows “struck productions,” as organizers are now worried that the shows would be boycotted by Hollywood’s A-list writers and the actors sympathetic to their cause.

The WGA’s decision underscores the tensions between the guild and the major studios, which typically enjoy major promotional pushes from the telecasts. However, the union said Monday that it was too early to discuss picketing plans on the awards shows.

“We must do everything we can to bring our negotiations to a swift and fair conclusion for the benefit of the writers and all those who are being harmed by the companies’ failure to engage in serious negotiations,” WGA West President Patric Verrone wrote in a letter sent Monday night to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He said the union decided that granting their requests would not help the guild’s position in the 6-week-old strike.

The celebratory mood that usually accompanies the announcement of the annual Golden Globe nominations was tempered last week by the possibility of a WGA picket line that could keep some of Hollywood’s biggest stars away from the event. Many A-list stars including Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp have expressed their sympathy for the writers.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association now said it would attempt to reach some type of agreement with the writers union on behalf of the Golden Globe Awards, which will recognize and honor outstanding achievements in both movies and television programming made before the strike.

“We are encouraged by the fact that the WGA has announced that it plans to negotiate agreements with independent production companies,” the HFPA said in the statement.

The guild’s negotiating committee last week said it was going to approach studios on an individual basis, a move meant to exploit the cracks between companies that have less to worry about if the strike continues and those that are having a tougher time than others.

The writers strike, starting from Nov. 5, has so far affected production on numerous films and shut down about 60 TV shows, leaving more than 10,000 people out of work.

Local officials estimated that the stoppage could cost the Los Angeles area’s economy at least 1 billion U.S. dollars if it continues into next year. A similar strike in 1988 lasted for 22 weeks and cost the entertainment industry about 500 million dollars.


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