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Let the Games Begin: “very pessimistic”

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At long last, the Writers Guild and the Producers sit down to “bargain” with one another. Both sides are running a fever-high psy-ops campaign of dour rhetoric and spinning probable doomsday outcomes. From a Reuters wire story:

Internet looms in new Hollywood contract talks

By Steve Gorman
Reuters
Monday, July 16, 2007; 4:38 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With Hollywood bracing for a season of possible labor strife, screenwriters sat down on Monday with studio executives for contract talks expected to hinge in part on how the Internet has altered show business.

The two sides also are likely to clash over industry proposals to revamp the decades-old system by which television and film writers are paid extra when their work goes beyond an initial broadcast or theatrical release and into reruns or onto DVDs.

The pact for the Writers Guild of America’s 12,000 members expires October 31.

With unions and management sharply divided on key issues, strike concerns have been running high in Hollywood. Studios and television networks are stockpiling scripts and accelerating production on some projects as a precaution.

Sources close to the talks said Monday’s morning session focused on a presentation by the writers guild, whose negotiators include “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry and “Dreamgirls” writer-director Bill Condon.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will get its chance to lay out its offer Monday afternoon, the sources said.

J. Nicholas Counter, the chief industry negotiator and head of the AMPTP, told reporters last week he felt “very pessimistic” heading into Monday’s sessions, calling them “the most complex” labor talks he has faced in 25 years.

The head of the guild’s bargaining team, David Young, said members were “united and prepared as never before.”

(more at link above)

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