Writers, studios in informal talks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Officials with the striking writers guild held informal talks Tuesday with Hollywood studios that could lead to the resumption of negotiations, a person familiar with the bargaining strategy said.

The talks preceded an expected guild meeting later in the day that was to address the union’s next step as it seeks a new contract, said the person who was not authorized to publicly comment and asked for anonymity.

Bargaining between the writers guild and the studios’ trade group, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, broke down Dec. 7 after the alliance demanded the guild take a half-dozen issues off the table, including unionization of reality TV shows. The guild refused.

The informal talks held Tuesday were designed to lay the groundwork for a return to formal bargaining.

The approach mirrored a series of meetings held by the Directors Guild of America and studio heads before they reached a tentative three-year deal, announced last week after less than a week of formal negotiations.

The strike that started Nov. 5 has shut down production of most scripted TV shows, disrupted movie schedules and the Golden Globes ceremony and has put next month’s Academy Awards at risk.

The informal writers-studio talks began on the day Oscar nominees were announced.