‘Top Model’ Writers Go on Strike

Jul 21, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The dozen writers who craft the reality in “America’s Next Top Model” went on strike Friday because The CW, which plans to use “Model” to kick off its premiere season Sept 20, have denied the writers’ request for representation by the Writers Guild of America West.

Among those joining the writers demonstrating outside the “Model” production offices on South Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles were WGAW officers and board members and California Assemblyman Paul Koretz, according to guild spokesman Gabriel Scott.

Mr. Scott said “Model’s” writers, like those on other reality shows, have signed cards authorizing the guild to represent them. “They want a contract that affords them the same provisions the Writers Guild members get,” he said. The issues are lack of portable pension and health benefits, minimum pay standards, writing credits and residuals, Mr. Scott said.

A spokesman for The CW declined to comment. Production has not begun yet on the upcoming season of “Top Model.”

Executive producer Ken Mok issued a statement Thursday afternoon, when the writers’ walk-out seemed likely, saying:

“We have advised the WGA that we feel the process established under the National Labor Relations Act is the appropriate process to be followed if employees wish to be represented by a union. The process permits an impartial government agency, the National Labor Relations Board, to conduct a secret ballot election so that all affected employees have an individual right to express their preference as to whether or not they want to elect a union.

“However, for some reason, the WGA is seeking to circumvent the protections provided to employees by these procedures and is trying to pressure us into recognizing it without a federally supervised secret ballot election. We once again ask that the WGA follow the procedures provided by law. If, after doing so, the NLRB decides that the WGA is the exclusive representative of our employees, we would be happy to sit down and negotiate with them.”