Striking writers say they won’t picket Grammy Awards

By Lynn Elber

LOS ANGELES – Striking Hollywood writers have decided against picketing the upcoming Grammy Awards, but the Writers Guild of America’s board of directors has yet to grant the music industry show a waiver that would allow its members to work on the ceremony, the guild said Tuesday.

The guild previously said it was unlikely to grant the Recording Academy a waiver for the Feb. 10 show, the music industry’s most important event, set to be broadcast live on CBS from Los Angeles.

The writers guild refused to grant a waiver for the Golden Globes and threatened to picket. The Screen Actors Guild encouraged its stars to stay away as well.

As a result, the typically lavish three-hour televised awards extravaganza was reduced to a half-hour, celebrity-free event on Jan. 13.

However, unlike the heavily scripted Globes ceremony, the Grammys rely mostly on nominee performances.

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Recording Academy President Neil Portnow has insisted the Grammys will continue no matter what – and Beyonce and the Foo Fighters announced they still plan to perform at the event.

There had been speculation that some musicians would sit out a picketed broadcast, especially top-level pop superstars who are also actors.

The decision against picketing the Grammys was made during a union board meeting on Monday, guild spokesman Neal Sacharow told The Associated Press. He declined to comment on the reason for the decision.

The decision was disclosed on the same day nominees were announced for next month’s Academy Awards, which is also threatened by the writers strike.

The guild has said it would not grant a waiver for the Oscars, the film industry’s biggest promotional showcase.

Guild waivers were granted for Sunday’s upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards and the NAACP Image Awards, held earlier this month.

A guild official cited the historic role the civil rights group has played in labor struggles in explaining the reason for the Image Awards waiver.