Italian scribes have eye on WGA strike

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ROME -- Italian screenwriters may soon join their U.S. counterparts on the picket lines, according to Fausto Brizzi, one of Italy's best-known screenwriters.

In a radio interview, Brizzi said that contract talks between television and film producers have been stalled so long that a strike has become "probable."

"We're in worse shape than the American writers who are protesting," said Brizzi, who has written many of Italy's top-grossing films of the past two years, including "Notte Prima Degli Esami" (The Night Before Finals) and "Natale a New York" (Christmas in New York). "We want to get to the same point as the Americans, where a writer can become an executive producer and then be responsible for his or her own (TV) series."

Brizzi said the possibility of a strike is a hot topic among his fellow screenwriters, particularly because of the unity shown by the group's U.S.-based counterparts.

The Italian screenwriters guild said a strike was a possibility but not imminent. A television producer, who asked not to be named, said Monday that Brizzi's comments were aimed at affecting ongoing contract talks and not intended to signal an actual strike.