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Film, TV Writers Set Negotiations Date

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DAISY NGUYEN | November 16, 2007 11:55 PM EST | AP

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LOS ANGELES — Hollywood film and TV writers who've been on strike nearly two weeks will return to contract negotiations on Nov. 26, their union and producers said Friday.

In a joint statement, the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said both sides had agreed to return to formal negotiations.

The statement said no other details would be released.

Meanwhile, the writers, who went on strike Nov. 5, would continue on the picket line, said Gregg Mitchell, a spokesman for the guild.

Some writers applauded the decision to return to talks.

"That's fabulous, that's great," said Sean Jablonski, a writer for the FX drama "Nip/Tuck." "You can't get a deal until two sides sit down and talk about it."

"It's a good message to hear around the holidays," he said.

At the core of the contract dispute is compensation for shows offered on the Internet _ a medium that appeals to a number of tech-savvy, young assistants who aspire to create their own online programming and want a piece of the profits.

The producers group has said it's offering writers a share of licensing fees paid by Web sites to stream shows.

However, the union rejected the offer, saying the payments wouldn't begin until six weeks after a show goes online and viewer interest is nearly exhausted.

Writers also want a cut of revenue from non-skippable ads contained in many shows streamed free online. The alliance slammed the door on that demand.

Since the strike began, late night talk shows and some sitcoms have gone to reruns. Officials at other shows are counting down the number of episodes they have left before running out of scripts.