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Screenwriters, Producers in Talks

February 4, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hollywood screenwriters and producers recessed contract talks Saturday and will resume Monday in hopes of preventing a potentially devastating strike, spokespersons for both sides said.

Talks continued even though writers had set Friday as the deadline to break off discussions unless they had a contract.

Writers Guild of America spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden declined to say if the extension indicated progress had been made.

The contract for the WGA’s 11,000 members expires May 1. Face-to-face negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers began two weeks ago. Alliance spokesman Barry Liden refused to give details on the negotiations.

The writers are demanding increased TV and movie residual payments and ``creative rights″ intended to give them more prestige and control of projects.

Both sides have acknowledged that a prolonged strike could be devastating. Besides driving some film production to Canada, industry observers estimate it could cost Los Angeles County as much as $2 billion a month in lost business.

A WGA strike in 1988 lasted 22 weeks and delayed that year’s fall TV season.

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