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Writers & Producers
Returning To Talks!!

I am – Hercules!! The Monday after Thanksgiving, three weeks after Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers suspended negotiations, the AMPTP and the Writers Guild of America are returning to the negotiating table. Word of the renewed negotiations came just 12 days after the start of the strike. The AMPTP walked away from an 11th-hour Nov. 4 negotiating session (reportedly brokered by CBS’s Les Moonves and Fox’s Peter Chernin) after AMPTP officials “learned” that the WGA had kept to its word to strike at midnight. Read all of TVWeek’s story on the matter here. The writers on the Friday strike lines in front of the Universal lot were in good spirits even before news of the renewed talks came down, thanks in part to the many “Galactica” fans who took up pickets to support the writers in front of the studio’s main gate. Despite the dire circumstances, the Friday line attained a party-ish ambiance. Actress Justine Bateman (supercute) was flitting in and out among the picketers with plates of brownies. A three-piece band arrived to provide marching instrumentals. Screenwriters are introducing themselves to – and getting to know – lots of other screenwriters. “Galactica” showrunner Ron Moore, the one writer I felt compelled to introduce myself to at the previous Friday’s Fox picket, was planted at the main gate, holding court with camera crews. I met yesterday for the first time my longtime email pal, “Buffy”/”Galactica” TV writer Jane Espenson, who had just returned from Carl’s Jr. run with another old friend of mine, Sarah Watson of “Standoff” and “Lipstick Jungle” fame. Both Watson and Espenson greeted with hugging, and spoke of a Mutant Enemy day tentatively scheduled Dec. 7 at Fox if the strike continues. (I can’t come to it! I’m already in Austin for Butt-Numb-A-Thon that day!!) (Espenson also spoke of a non-fiction book she was contemplating, but I can’t remember if I’m supposed to talk about it or not, so I won’t for now. Her funny boyfriend, Bob Harris, has a new book out: “Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up – A Woefully Incomplete Guide.” Espenson herself has “Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe,” which hit store shelves about three months ago.) Watson tells me NBC’s “Lipstick” (starring Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price) has seven scripts banked, and its midseason debut will apparently not be scuttled by the strike. I was introduced in short order to Bradley Thompson (“Deep Space Nine,” “Galactica”), who said production on “Galactica” 4.11 (or 4.13 if you count the 2-hour “Galactica: Razor” TV-movie), the last scripted before the strike, would be finished on Tuesday. Amy Berg writes for “The 4400” (which shoots at the old Columbia lot at Sunset & Gower) but was picketing Universal Friday because she shares in the “Galactica” fanaticism. She confirms USA has still not ordered a fifth “4400” season. The writers are networking like crazy, and there’s a lot of talk about working around the AMPTP, negotiating with independent producers willing to meet the WGA’s demands and perhaps even taking screenwriter talents to comic books or the Internet. The Internet wasn’t really much of a thing during the last strike. WGA members Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow and Adam McKay have already started a website called “Funny Or Die.” I don’t think an AMPTP member sees a dime from Funny Or Die. See if you think it funny as “Carpoolers”:

Read the Letterman writers’ hilarious strike blog here.

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“Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe”

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