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WGA STRIKE UPDATE: BACK TO WORK BY MIDWEEK?

Sunday WGA Membership Meetings Could Lead to End of Three-Month-Old Writers' Strike 2/10/2008 04:36:00 AM Eastern

After Writers Guild of America membership meetings on both coasts Saturday, the end of the three-month-old writers’ strike no longer appears to be a question of if, but when. Assuming the positive momentum continues, writers could be back to work as soon as the middle of this week.

The WGA Negotiating Committee is scheduled to meet Sunday to decide whether or not to send the tentative agreement, finalized early Saturday morning with producers, to the WGA East council and the WGA West board.

The WGA East council and the WGA West board are expected to also meet later Sunday and then could send the deal to a membership vote. One possibility is to expedite a 48-hour membership vote and, if that tally ends in favor of the tentative deal, it could send writers back to work by midweek.

At that point. the television industry would quickly ramp up, both in terms of getting many current shows back on the air this season as soon as possible, as well as kicking into gear a shortened and frenzied development season for next fall. Industry executives were already laying the groundwork for that rapid restart prior to the weekend.

WGA East chief Michael Winship led his organization’s meeting in New York Saturday afternoon, a three-hour confab of about 500 members. Saturday night in Los Angeles, it was the WGA West’s turn, with president Patric Verrone leading a meeting with attendance estimated at 2,000-3,000 members.

News of the tentative deal spread overnight Friday into Saturday morning via a letter to membership from Verrone and Winship in which guild leadership wrote, “We have a tentative deal. It is an agreement that protects a future in which the Internet becomes the primary means of both content creation and delivery.”

Terms of the deal were posted to the WGA Web site.

For complete strike coverage, click here.

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