Bolstered by the strength of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA striking, the crew of reality show “Worst Cooks in America” have shut down all production of the series’ 28th season. In a push to have the current season filmed under an IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) contract, 50 workers from the camera department, grip and electric, and set decoration left the set.
The strike comes after IASTE attempted to negotiate with NBC for fair treatment and better pay. Something that clearly didn’t go well. IATSE fully supports reality show workers. “The crew of ‘Worst Cooks in America’ are on strike in Long Island City as Bright Road Productions refuses to serve up fair wages and benefits,” IASTE said in a statement of solidarity. “For far too long, crews of unscripted TV have gone without industry-standard wages and benefits! Now, they’re coming together to demand better.”
Enough Is Enough
“With the writers and actors strikes still ongoing, we are witnessing an unprecedented wave of solidarity that’s breaking down old barriers in the industry and proving we’re all in this fight together,” IATSE director of communications, Jonas Loebb, said. It’s refreshing to see that the strikes are reaching more and more branches of the entertainment industry.
There’s a lot of whispering about the working conditions for reality show workers. This strike and shut down comes in the wake of litigators Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos. Two men who have campaigned tirelessly to expose the mistreatment of employees by NBCUniversal on unscripted series. According to Freedman, NBC forces employees to sign NDAs. This is pretty standard for any production. “Draconian” is the word Freedman uses, adding, “to ensure silence, NBC has been wielding these contractual terms like a sword.”
Considering how many networks are counting on reality tv programming to get them through the fall slate, perhaps the AMPTP need to get it through their heads that there’s no entertainment without all the staff that make it happen. In the meantime, we’ll be rooting for the IASTE and stand in support of any and all staff on reality shows.