The Writer's Guild of America won't picket the Grammy Awards next month, according to a guild spokesman, but the status of the Recording Academy's application to the WGA for an interim agreement for their two members who work on the show is still up in the air.

The Board of Directors of the WGA West is scheduled to meet Tuesday night,
but it is unclear at this point whether the issue of the interim agreement
will be raised. Without it, those WGA members would still not be able to write for the awards show.

What could have been a serious public relations battle, however, has been averted, and talent belonging to other unions will be free and clear to perform, present, and attend the show. In the past ten days, officials with the Recording Academy have repeatedly met with WGA West president Patric Verrone outlining the reasons why the interim deal should be reached. In essence, the argument is that while performers' unions – namely AFTRA and AFM - support the writers in their strike against the producers, any actions that makes the Grammys collateral damage is unacceptable. The Recording Academy has lawyered up and hired a public relations firm that specializes in crisis management to press their viewpoint in the mass media. (It seems to be taking hold; in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times entertainment columnist Patrick Goldstein told Verrone that he "shouldn't pick a fight you might lose. NARAS won't roll over and play dead like the Globes.")

"The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is pleased that the Writers Guild of America has decided not to picket the Grammy Awards," said Roberta Reardon, AFTRA national president. "This event is a crucial platform for the Recording Academy's ongoing efforts to protect and advance the rights of musical artists -- an effort we at AFTRA regard as central to our mission. AFTRA is committed, just like the WGA, to negotiate fair compensation for the exploitation of our members' talents."

One of the critical elements of the Grammys that was emphasized to Verrone is the charities that benefit from Grammy Week and the telecast, especially MusiCares. Emphasizing the charitable benefits of Grammy week would seem to be a smart move - the waivers granted to date for the NAACP Image Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards both cited the progressive societal benefits to those organizations having a televised show.

"We are pleased with the decision made by the WGA today," says Academy president Neil Portnow. "In light of this, we are gratified that the 50th Annual Grammy Awards will focus solely on the great music, artists and charitable work resulting from our show. We look forward to unveiling the exciting lineup of artists who will give our worldwide audience one of the most memorable Grammy shows ever."

Several artists, including Screen Actor's Guild member Beyonce, and the Foo Fighters, have said they intend to perform at the Grammys regardless of how the labor dispute turns out.