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Writers won’t picket Grammys

Move means musicians, actors likely to attend

The striking Writers Guild of America will not picket the Feb. 10 Grammys kudocast.

The WGA West board made the unanimous decision Tuesday, although it has not granted the week-old request from the awards show for an interim agreement allowing WGA writers to work on the show.

CBS issued an upbeat response.

“This is very welcome news,” the net said. “We appreciate the WGA’s consideration in this matter. The Recording Academy has put tremendous effort and planning into this 50th anniversary event. It’s a big night of entertainment for television audiences and an important event for music artists and everyone in the music business.”

The WGA’s decision reverses its previous position. Its spokesman indicated a week ago that it would not grant a waiver for the CBS telecast, and it told the Screen Actors Guild that attendees would have to cross a picket line at the Staples Center to attend the Grammy Awards if the strike was still on.

The Recording Academy announced last week that Beyonce and the Foo Fighters had agreed to appear at the show despite the the threat of picketing.

The WGA’s refusal to grant a waiver for the Jan. 13 Golden Globes forced organizers to cut the event to a news conference after all the nominees in acting categories vowed not to cross the WGA picket line.

The WGA has called off its own Feb. 9 awards show, and the fate of the Feb. 24 Oscarcast remains muddled after the guild indicated last month that it would not grant a waiver if one was requested.

The WGA’s move to allow the Grammys to proceed without interference means that the kudocast will be able to use the 10-20 actors who usually serve as presenters. It also removes the problem of having to cross a picket line for a substantial number of nominated musicians who have appeared in films and on TV, including Justin Timberlake, Queen Latifah, Tim McGraw, Beyonce, Jack White, Jon Bon Jovi, T.I. and Fantasia.

“We are gratified that the 50th annual Grammy Awards will focus solely on the great music, artists and charitable work resulting from our show,” Recording Academy prexy-CEO Neil Portnow said in a statement. He noted that the lineup of performers will be announced soon.

SAG, which has been the WGA’s strongest union supporter, had no immediate response but the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists issued a statement of support.

“This event is a crucial platform for the Recording Academy’s ongoing efforts to protect and advance the rights of musical artists — an effort we at AFTRA regard as central to our mission,” said AFTRA prexy Roberta Reardon. “AFTRA is committed, just like the WGA, to negotiate fair compensation for the exploitation of our members’ talents.”

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