Writers Guild Bigwigs See a Happy Ending

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By Lisa de Moraes
Monday, February 11, 2008

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10

Striking writers will return to work Wednesday!

ABC's broadcast of the Academy Awards has been saved!

New episodes of your favorite TV shows will rise like a flock of phoenixes in early spring!

Next fall's new TV season has been resuscitated!

Writers Guild biggies announced all this -- and more -- at a hastily called crack-of-dawn (a.k.a. noon) news conference Sunday in Los Angeles.

Groggy WGA big cheeses who'd been up late the previous night unveiling the new contract to writers at the Shrine Auditorium, and bleary-eyed reporters who'd spent the previous evening camped out at the Shrine to speak with exiting writers, convened at Writers Guild of America-West headquarters, across the street from the ne plus ultra shopping mall the Grove (where thespians like Paris Hilton like to hang out and study the little people to hone their acting skills), to officially unveil what the reporters had gleaned during their late-night vigil.

Meetings will be held Tuesday in New York and Los Angeles with the guild's 10,500 striking members to vote on whether to immediately call off the strike, which has dragged on for more than three months. During that time the work stoppage brought production of original scripted TV series to a halt, impeded movie production, made a guild pariah out of NBC late-night host Jay Leno (though not of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who also crossed picket lines to return to work without their writers), killed the Golden Globes ceremony and strapped the Academy Awards to the tracks with the Pacific Surfliner to San Diego bearing down.

In response to the union negotiating committee's recommendation that the new contract be approved, Sunday the Writers Guild's West Coast board and its East Coast council voted separately, and unanimously, to hold a membership ratification vote on the new contract, a process that will take about 12 days to complete, they said.

Show runners -- that is, the writer/producers who actually run production of a show -- can go back to work Monday (so long as they don't write anything) to prepare for the expected thumbs-up vote to end the strike.

All the other writers will be able to go back to work "Tuesday, very very late," or Wednesday, WGA-W President Patric Verrone joked.


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