Two important class-action lawsuits were settled today, surprising everyone in the TV industry. These class-action lawsuits were filed four years ago by the Writers Guild and hundreds of reality TV writers and producers claiming production companies and TV networks (including ABC, CBS, and FOX) had cheated them out of overtime, forced them to falsify time cards, and required them to work in inhumane conditions. These weren’t just little writers and producers on little shows, these were major network programs like “The Bachelor,” “The Real Gilligan’s Island,” and “Trading Spouses.” …So this is a HUGE victory not only for people working in reality TV, but for writers demanding fair treatment and equitable pay in every genre or medium (like animation, game shows, sketch and comedy shows… many of which STILL aren’t covered by union contracts)!
(And I’ll be honest, as much as I support the WGA and their campaign to organize reality… I was totally skeptical they would win this. I think the Guild has made some huge missteps in their organizing campaign over the last few years; fortunately, they seem to have gotten back on track in the last couple months, and I think this is a huge shot of adrenaline… at least for me.)
Secondly… the battle ain’t over– yet. There’s still a LONG way to go before completely bringing reality writers and producers into the union’s fold, but the WGA is hosting a meeting tomorrow to get writers, producers, and supporters up to speed. You don’t have to be working on a TV show in order to come… you just have to be a writer– or someone who supports writers’ causes. (Plus, they provide free dinner… and hey– who can pass that up?)
Here’s the scoop…
WHEN: Thursday, January 22, 8 pm.
WHERE: The Writers Guild, 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Hope to see you there!