Hollywood writers and producers continued talking throughout Wednesday (2 May), amid a news blackout from both negotiating teams.

The Writer's Guild of America's contract with producers had been due to expire at 12.01am on 2 May Los Angeles Time (8.01am GMT).

The continuation of the talks follows a marathon 17 hour negotiating session which finally ended in the small hours of 2 May. The WGA said at the end of that meeting that talks would continue past the contract deadline.

The fact that the talks are continuing well past their deadline has raised hopes that a writers' strike may be averted.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, a group of senior Hollywood executives - including DreamWorks SKG's Jeffrey Katzenberg and Universal Pictures' Stacey Snider - joined the official negotiators.

Their presence has been interpreted as a sign that the studios are keen to reach a deal with the WGA on issues such as residuals and creative rights.

Common wisdom has it that if the writers' strike is averted, a devastating actors' strike, which could follow if actors and producers' negotiations starting next week (May 10) fail, could also be averted.