The studios delivered a message to the Writers Guild of America on Thursday: Let's talk.
In a letter from Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the tone was cordial, but there was just a bit of a nudge.
"On behalf of the AMPTP Companies, I invite the Writers Guild of America, West, Inc. and the Writers Guild of America, East, Inc. ('the Guild') to return to the bargaining table," Lombardini wrote to David Young and Lowell Peterson, executive directors of the West and East guilds, respectively.
Then came the nudge: "We await your response to the Producers' Comprehensive Package Proposal submitted to the Guild Bargaining Committee last Thursday, shortly after which the Guild told us that it had no response to that package and would be taking a strike authorization vote."
The governing boards of the two guilds voted earlier this week to conduct just such a vote. When the negotiating committee called last Friday for a strike vote, it also said "We will continue to bargain in good faith" to make a deal.
Lombardini's letter, which was released by the AMPTP, concluded in a hopeful tone: "Please contact me to schedule a day and time when the Guild Bargaining Committee is available to meet again."
But whether the guild will be willing to do that - prior to the results of the strike authorization vote - is unclear. That vote is expected to pass, and then bring the guild a measure of added leverage.
The WGA West, which holds point on the talks between East and West, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.