CW: “Top Model” Strike Won’t Delay Show

Aug 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The CW sought to assure television station owners Thursday that the “America’s Next Top Model” strike will not delay the series or impact the quality of the program.

“Principal photography of this cycle has been completed,” CW COO John D. Maatta wrote in a letter to 200 affiliates. “Episodes are being edited (by IATSE editors) as part of the post-production process; and the delivery of episodes is on schedule.”

That counters parts of a letter sent by Writers Guild of America Executive Director David Young to station owners July 26 in which he said, “most episodes remain unfinished. Many of the writers of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ have worked on the show for several seasons and are concerned for the quality of this season if the show is produced without them.”

In essence, the characterizations by both sides are correct. The WGA claimed the episodes remained unfinished and The CW acknowledges that, while principal photography is completed, the post-production editing and story-shaping process directly impacted by the striking staffers is incomplete.

Mr. Maatta promised that if the strike isn’t resolved by the onset of production for the next edition of the series, a contingency plan will be developed and “whatever steps necessary” will be taken to continue delivering episodes that maintain the show’s “high standards.”

In another point of dispute, the original WGA letter claimed “Top Model” executive producers and The CW “have refused to recognize and negotiate with the writers of the show.”

Mr. Maatta contradicted that claim, saying the producers are simply sticking to National Labor Relations Act procedures for collective bargaining and asked the union to adhere to the rules for organizing workers.

This afternoon, the WGA issued a rejoinder.

“Maatta’s letter clearly shows that the CW is on the defensive and having to address the concerns of nervous affiliates,” the union said in a statement.

Two weeks ago, Television Week spent a day on the “Top Model” picket line (https://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=10532), where staffers have been on strike since July 21. Staffers claimed that by relying on editors to finish their work, the completion of episodes was falling behind and possibly suffering in quality.