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I just heard today from various sources that the Hollywood studios are truly in more of a panic mode than anyone thought possible as they try to get all their current movies in production wrapped up by the end of June in case SAG strikes. So this may be a bit of good news to the entertainment biz in general: I’m told that AMPTP president Nick Counter and executive VP for business Carol Lombardino have invited SAG to begin formal bargaining the first week of April starting on March 31st. counter-allen.JPGAnd it was talked about today inside SAG at a meeting to discuss various administrative matters by SAG national executive director Doug Allen and his AFTRA counterpart Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, and other assorted staff from both unions. Allen, who’s the chief negotiator, officially replied: “We need to consult our board, AFTRA and the Joint SAG/AFTRA board before we can respond to the AMPTP.” In other words, it wasn’t a no! Still, I think the best course of action is for Peter Chernin and Bob Iger to negotiate this contract themselves, and leave Nick Counter the hell out of it. After all, as I’ve previously reported, the Big Media duo have already broken the ice with the SAG leadership. (See my EXCLUSIVE: Big Media Moguls And SAG Leaders Meet Secretly)