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Recording Academy circulates petition

The Recording Academy has asked its members to sign a petition urging the Writers Guild of America to accept an agreement that would grant a waiver for writers to work on the upcoming Grammys, The fate of the Feb. 10 telecast was put in doubt after the WGA announced that it was unlikely to grant a waiver for music’s biggest night. If a waiver is not granted, its members could picket the event, set to be broadcast live by CBS. The online petition reads in part: “As a member of The Recording Academy, I would like to express my strong support for the Grammy Awards, and to encourage the WGA to accept the interim agreement offered by the producers of the Grammys. … During this important 50th anniversary year, I support the Grammys and strongly urge the guild to do the same.”

The message also refers to the academy’s charitable and educational events and the fact that it employs hundreds of union members in the annual telecast.

The link to the online petition was sent in an e-mail message Thursday from Recording Academy President Neil Portnow and producer Jimmy Jam, who’s the chairman of its board of trustees.

“We’ve got literally a pile of thousands of endorsements already,” Portnow told the AP on Friday.

A WGA representative reaffirmed the group’s earlier decision that no final decision had been made. The Recording Academy has said it hopes an agreement can be reached, though the WGA has said that is unlikely.

The Golden Globe awards, normally a glitzy, three-hour star-studded extravaganza, was reduced to a starless news conference Sunday after the WGA refused to grant a waiver and the Screen Actors Guild urged their members to boycott the event. The Academy Awards may face the same predicament Feb. 24.

But Portnow said to compare the Golden Globes to the Grammys is a mistake, and said the telecast would go on, regardless if the awards were not granted a waiver – or if there were picketers outside. And he noted that it would not be a scaled-back affair.

“Remember our show is about music and musical performances. The other elements are icing on the cake,” Portnow said. “We won’t be a clip show or a press conference or anything of the sort. This show really will go on.”

On Thursday, the manager for Beyonce said the entertainer, also a member of the actors’ guild, plans to perform at the Grammys; the Foo Fighters also reiterated their commmitment to perform.

Both acts are nominated for awards. However, neither said specifically whether they would cross a picket line. Beyonce’s mananger and father Matthew Knowles and a representative for the Foo Fighters did not return calls from Portnow said he considered their statements very clear on their intent to perform. “They are taking the position during a strike situation that they are coming and they support the rights of the Recording Academy to present the Grammy awards this year,” he said.

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