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WGA rejects waiver requests

Clips, writing for awards telecasts nixed

Hollywood’s annual kudos rituals became the latest strike battleground Monday as the Writers Guild of America nixed waiver requests from the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

Announcement came during Monday night’s WGA membership meeting at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with 2,000 striking scribes in attendance.

The Globes had sought permission to allow writers to prep material for the kudocast airing Jan. 13 on NBC. The Oscar thumbs-down was for the use of clips on the show.

Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences requests waivers from all the guilds to use clips from films and past Oscarcasts; an AMPAS spokesman said the org has not yet requested any strike-related waivers for the show, which will air Feb. 24.

But a source said the WGA West board has already decided to turn down any request for an Oscar script waiver if and when it arrives.

An unanswered question is whether nixing the waiver for the Globes automatically means the guild will picket the event. It’s possible the strike will be over before either of these awards shows air; it’s also possible picketing will be called off for the kudocasts, though that seems a remote possibility.

WGA West president Patric Verrone notified the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which votes on the Globes and produces that show with Dick Clark Prods., of the guild’s decision on the waivers.

With the strike now in its seventh week and no new talks scheduled, Verrone made it clear that pushing for an acceptable deal trumps concerns about the shows.

In a statement, Verrone said while the WGA respects both orgs, “We must do everything we can to bring our negotiations to a swift and fair conclusion for the benefit of writers and all those who are being harmed by the companies’ failure to engage in serious negotiations.”

Verrone said this goal would not be advanced by granting waivers to the signatories producing the Globes and the Oscars.

The Broadcast Film Critics show is not affected by the strike, and the WGA granted a waiver last week to the SAG Awards telecast.

Dick Clark Prods. released a statement indicating that it will try another route to keep its show from being picketed by working to negotiate an agreement as an indie producer.

“The Golden Globe Awards, which has a long and friendly relationship with the Writers Guild of America, is obviously disappointed that the WGA denied its request for a waiver,” it said. “However, we are encouraged by the fact that the WGA has announced that it plans to negotiate agreements with independent production companies. Therefore, we will attempt to reach some type of agreement with them on behalf of the 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards, which will recognize and honor outstanding achievements in both movies and television programming made before the strike.”

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