Letter from the WGA: Ozzy Doesn't Rock

Author:
Publish date:

Last week, you may have become aware of our ongoing dispute with Tyler Perry’s production companies, which fired four writers because of their efforts to organize Perry’s series, House of Payne. Pickets were up at his new studio’s grand opening Saturday night in Atlanta.

Now, we write to inform you of another labor dispute.Fox has ordered a primetime comedy-variety show featuring Ozzy Osbourne and his family, and has engaged FremantleMedia North America, the company behind American Idol, to produce it. Because they wanted to hire WGA members to write the show, Fremantle contacted the WGAW to see if we would agree to a sub-standard contract. Attempting to pay as little as possible to the writers on the show, Fremantle asked to treat it as “half-scripted” and pay greatly reduced writing fees to those writers who wrote skits, interview material, intros, and “outros.” Although all of the writing on the show is of a type traditionally covered by our MBA (in such shows as The Carol Burnett Show and Laugh-In), Fremantle wanted to treat certain portions of the show as “reality content," not cover the writers who create it, and lower the compensation of the WGA-covered writers, arguing that they would only be responsible for writing part of the show.

We refused to agree to such a deal because it would drastically undermine hard-won minimums and standards. While we have covered some shows produced by Fremantle, they insist that other shows, including American Idol, The Price is Right, and Million Dollar Password, do not have writers and should not be covered by a WGA contract.Now it is clear that Fremantle’s intention is to bring their low cost, non-union business model into traditional genres – first game shows, then comedy-variety. Soon, no WGA-covered writing will be safe from their aggressive undermining of our contract. We cannot allow this encroachment to continue.

Accordingly, WGA East and West members may not write for the Osbourne variety show (working title: The Osbournes: Loud and Dangerous). Any members who perform writing services on that show do so at their own peril as they will be violating WGA Working Rule 8 and could be fined up to 100% of their compensation for that work. Both Guilds notified agents and other representatives of this development through an Action Alert issued yesterday.

The alert also reminded agents that they cannot send clients who are members of either Guild to write for Tyler Perry's production companies. The WGAW has filed unfair labor practice charges based on the unlawful discharge of the House of Payne writers and continuing bad faith bargaining. Members who accept these jobs will also be in violation of Working Rule 8. We believe that denying Fremantle and Tyler Perry members of the Writers Guilds East and West may convince them that they will be unable to produce professional quality entertainment content and that they will see the wisdom and creative advantages of signing a WGA contract.

There is already far too much writing done in our business by men and women without WGA benefits. We cannot let writers of sitcoms and comedy-variety programming join their ranks, as we also work to reduce the amount of animation, reality, nonfiction, and other so-called “non-scripted” writing not covered by a WGA contract.

Hey, everyone--

You may have heard this news, which broke yesterday afternoon, but the Writers Guild of America is going to head with Ozzy Osbourne's new FOX variety show, The Osbournes: Loud and Dangerous, for refusing to pay its writers standard wages or agree to a union contract. Yesterday afternoon, WGA presidents Michael Winship and Patric Verrone sent the following email to Guild membership...

To Our Fellow Members,

Thanks for your attention and your continued support.

Best,

Patric M. Verrone
President, WGAW

Michael Winship
President, WGAE

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Debut author Shugri Said Salh discusses how wanting to know her mother lead her to writing her coming-of-age novel, The Last Nomad.

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

Does your manuscript need a little more definition, but you’re not sure where to begin? Try these 100 tips to give your words more power.

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson discusses how she never gave up on her story, how she worked through internal doubts, and how research lead her out of romance and into historical fiction.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Seven New Courses, Writing Prompts, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new courses, our Editorial Calendar, and more!

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.