Hollywood directors said Thursday they will hold off on contract negotiations with studios for now but could start talks after New Year's Day.

The move could put added pressure on striking Hollywood writers to reach a new contract with studios and end their six-week walkout.

In a statement, the Directors Guild of America said it was deeply disappointed by the collapse of talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The writers strike, which began Nov. 5, has shut down production on dozens of TV shows and started to slow the making of movies for release in 2009.

The directors guild represents about 13,500 directors and associated production workers. Its contract with the alliance is set to expire June 30.

The guild delayed starting its contract talks for two months "out of respect for our sister guild," directors guild President Michael Apted and negotiations chair Gil Cates said in the statement.

"But now the situation is dire. The WGA-AMPTP impasse has cost the jobs of tens of thousands of entertainment industry workers, including many of our own members, and more lose their jobs every day the strike continues," the statement said.

A call to the writers guild and an email sent to the alliance seeking comment were not immediately answered.