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Hollywood Writers Set Monday Strike Deadline

Union officials say a strike by Hollywood writers will begin Monday morning unless a last-minute deal is reached over the weekend with studios on a new contract.

The announcement was posted this afternoon on a Writers Guild of America Web site.

It said the walkout would begin at 12:01 am and all work by members has to cease. More details are promised over the weekend.

It would be the first strike in nearly 20 years for the Writers Guild of America.

The union's board made the announcement after meeting to approve the timing of the strike, which was first disclosed last night at a meeting attended by 3,000 members.

Union leaders said they would delay the action if producers showed movement in contract negotiations -- especially on the key issue of paying writers when TV episodes are sold or streamed over the Internet.

President Nick Counter of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers says his group is ready to meet and finish negotiations over the weekend.

The first casualty of the strike will likely be late-night talk shows.