Draft of Deal With Studios Could Be Ready Friday, Go to Striking Writers Saturday

The striking Writers Guild of America is anticipating that lawyers could complete a draft copy of a proposed deal with Hollywood studios by Friday.

The bargaining committee and boards of the East and West Coast guild chapters plan to review the proposal before sharing details Saturday at membership meetings in New York and Los Angeles, said a person close to the situation who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.

In an e-mail sent earlier this week to guild members, negotiations committee chief John Bowman said the guild wouldn't make a formal decision on the proposed deal until after the informational membership meetings.

If writers like what they hear Saturday, the closed-door meetings could be a major step toward a resolution of the 3-month-old strike.

The walkout, which began Nov. 5, centers on the issue of compensation for content offered over the Internet.

The outcome of the membership meetings could determine if TV networks will be able to salvage the remainder of the 2007-08 season and if the Feb. 24 Academy Awards ceremony can proceed without pickets.