(BBC) -The US screenwriters' union has called a strike starting next Monday to demand a greater share in royalty payments from DVDs and new media sales.
About 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are being asked to cease work and set up picket lines from 0001 local time (0701 GMT).
The last such action, nearly 20 years ago, lasted 22 weeks and disrupted the autumn television season.
The studios and the union will meet on Sunday morning for last-ditch talks.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said the talks to try to avert the strike would take place at a neutral venue.
The strike deadline was issued by WGA leaders on Friday on the recommendation of their negotiators, after talks with producers broke down.
"The Writers Guilds will go on strike Monday, November 5th at 1201 AM," a statement said.
"At that time, all Guild-covered work under the MBA [Minimum Basic Agreement] must cease."
Talks between WGA negotiators and the AMPTP broke down on Wednesday, hours before an existing agreement was due to expire.
Writers are demanding an increase in the fees they receive when their work is reproduced on DVDs, the internet, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Michael Winship, president of the WGA on the East Coast, said there was still time for producers to avoid the action.
"We urge the studios to come back and bargain fairly," he said after the strike announcement.
Nick Counter, president of the AMPTP, said the studios were ready to meet and finish negotiations over the weekend.
Earlier, Mr Counter had said no progress was possible at the talks "for overriding business reasons" as long as writers insisted on increasing royalties from DVD sales.
"The DVD issue is a roadblock to these negotiations," he added.
Some of the most popular shows on US television could be forced off the air if writers go ahead with the strike.