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Writers Guild board OKs accord to end strike

February 10, 2008 | 12:17 pm

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Moving one step closer to ending the 4-month-old strike, the board of the Writers Guild of America unanimously blessed this morning the tentative accord reached last week with the studios.

The endorsement paves the way for writers to return to work on Wednesday, pending a vote by the guild's membership to lift the strike order on Tuesday. The guild's 10,500 movie and TV writers are expected to ratify the new three-year contract within 10 days.

Hollywood's top show runners, however, can return to work Monday in their capacity as producers, which includes hiring crews and getting their series ready to shoot. The strike shut down more than 60 shows and idled thousands of production workers, who are anxious to return to their jobs.

The resolution comes in the nick of time to save the annual Academy Awards show, which can now come off as planned on Feb. 24 without the threat of picketers outside the event and a paucity of stars on the red carpet and writers to pen the jokes made by presenters. It also means the networks will now be able to begin, albeit at a delay, developing new shows for next season.

In the last few days, the writers had been letting the leadership know that they wanted to have a say. And on Saturday night, soon after the beginning of a well-attended membership meeting at the Shrine Auditorium, Verrone announced that this indeed would be happening.

As a result, the union's leaders reversed their original plan, which would have allowed the WGA board to send writers back to work on Monday.

More news on the strike

-- Richard Verrier and Claudia Eller

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