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WGA vs. AMPTP: Is someone spreading bad info?

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Now that the negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA have been postponed and the muzzles have been removed, accusations of malfeasance and plain old dirty pool are flying as both sides try to comprehend why no deal had been made after four days at the table. On Friday morning, scribes like Without a Trace creator Hank Steinberg began circulating emails to the WGA membership accusing the moguls of spreading disinformation — primarily via Nikki Finke’s blog — to “get us psychologically used to the idea that the strike will end, and then dash those hopes.” (Finke wasn’t the only one reporting optimism on the producers’ side; several network and TV studio insiders, as well as showrunners, told EW that everyone was feeling hopeful that a deal could be ironed out this week.) In his emails, Steinberg rallied his colleagues to stay strong and keep holding their placards high. “The idea of picketing for a couple of more weeks doesn’t sound particularly glamorous to any of us,” he wrote. “We’re still in good shape to make a fair deal and we shouldn’t allow their tactics to dampen our spirits or forget what it is we’re striking over in the first place.”

Meanwhile, folks within the AMPTP camp were grousing today that the WGA refused to resume negotiations once the producers presented their new proposal to writers yesterday at an undisclosed hotel. According to one source close to the AMPTP, the producers were willing to continue negotiations through the night and weekend, but the WGA elected to resume talks on Dec. 4 instead. In the meantime, the WGA had plans to accommodate “Hollywood’s Golden Age” on the pickets line today by inviting veterans like Christopher Knopf (The Big Valley), Millard Kaufman (Mr. Magoo) and Tom Mankiewicz (Live and Let Die) to join the march.