Italy's TV writers consider strike

Writers from RAI, Mediaset, La 7 all seeking royalties

TAORMINA, Italy -- Italian television writers are threatening to follow in the footsteps of their U.S. counterparts by going on strike, unless they can have a percentage of the royalties once their programs go into syndication.

The Italian press on Monday carried stories exclaiming that the writers were in "revolt" and that they "learned from Hollywood" how to get their fair share. A headline in La Repubblica read, "Television robs writers of their rights."

At the end of the stories are a series of comments from television writers associations representing talent at all three terrestrial broadcasters -- RAI, Mediaset and La 7 -- demanding royalties on profits from programs in syndication. At least two talk show programs over the weekend featured writers threatening to walk off the job if their demands were not met.

Network ownership has yet to respond to the writers' demands, and the writers have not announced a deadline for action.