The fateful date, WGA leaders have indicated, will be Monday, failing a weekend of digital detente between scribes and the film studios and TV networks that make up the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
A small ember of hope still burns that such a rapprochement might still be possible. The AMPTP's chief negotiator, Nick Counter, released a statement that was equal parts snark and olive branch. "We are not surprised" by the writers' decision to recommend a strike, Mr. Counter said, but he added, "We are ready to meet and are prepared to close this contract this weekend."
'Two major weapons'
Jonathan Handel, a former associate counsel to the WGA in 1994 and 1995 and now an entertainment lawyer at Troy & Gould, said he would be surprised if the guild rushed to strike.
"The WGA has two major weapons," Mr. Handel said, "the threat of a strike, and an actual strike. Once you strike, one of your chief advantages goes away."
The last WGA strike, a five-month work stoppage in 1988, failed to produce any major gains for the writers and cost the industry an estimated $500 million in lost revenue and wages.
Despite that, no new talks had been scheduled as of 9 a.m. today, and it was unclear whether any back-channel communications were occurring between senior WGA leaders and the moguls who would be on the receiving end of a strike.