Strike fever's about to hit Hollywood hard.

With WGA negotiations set to resume Wednesday, the saber-rattling is growing louder and the public posturing more pointed, Variety reports.

So there's little optimism that the town's scribes will reach a deal with studios and nets by the Oct. 31 expiration of the WGA contract.

Most expect that the guild won't strike at that point but rather tell its members to keep working under terms of the expired deal in hopes of securing a better one once SAG negotiates next year prior to its June 30 expiration.

Still, the WGA's not taking the strike option off the table. It's converted the members' lounge at its headquarters into a strike HQ, and WGA West prexy Patric Verrone admits the guild could schedule a strike authorization vote by early next month.

Belligerence between the two sides has grown since two acrimonious days of bargaining in July. The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers proposal -- a revolutionary revamp of residuals in which payments would be triggered only when producers recoup basic costs -- is still reverberating two months later.

AMPTP prexy Nick Counter contends that fast-shifting showbiz economics have left the companies with no choice but to come in with their guns blazing. He cites soaring costs of film and TV, uncertainty over Internet revenues and flat DVD growth, rattling off MPAA stats showing an average deficit of $70 million per film.

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