After some recent successes flipping reality shows, MPEG is embroiled in a difficult strike action against Bravo's "Shah's of Sunset." Radio silence from the prodco powers that be for two weeks until today's press release that Bravo is taking total control of the production and it's likely the striking editors will not be returning to the show, whatever the outcome. This seems like an aggressive move by NBC/Universal to stop the turning tide of unionizing reality shows in the wake of NY City Council hearings on the allegedly poor working conditions that many in the genre face.
Will this move crush union organizers? Or will it merely bolster them to take this action to the next level?
New York City Council’s Civil Service & Labor Committee today heard testimony about "stolen" wages and lack of benefits in reality television production. For those of us in the industry, none of this is exactly news. The WGA has been aggressive in recent years trying to flip reality shows and drive up their membership by finally including nonfiction story producers into their organization. However, some people may remember the big WGA strike of 2007-2008, wherein they promised that reality and animation writers would be eligible for union benefits. Many reality TV producers stepped up to help protest and support the WGA, only to be dropped from their proposal after the first round of negotiations. What do you think? Should reality television change it's wage practices? Would you rather work union or non-union?