Writer’s Guild helps 10 producers sue FOX, Rocket Science Laboratories

As expected, the WGA has helped file another class-action lawsuit against a network and a production company. According to a press release, “ten reality-TV writers and editors, with the assistance of the WGAw, have filed a class-action lawsuit charging Fox Broadcasting company and Rocket Science Laboratories with violations of California’s labor laws governing payment of overtime, wages, and meal periods.”

The shows that Rocket Science produced and FOX aired (well, most of them) were Trading Spouses, Joe Millionaire, The Next Joe Millionaire, My Big Fat Obnoxious FiancĂ©, Renovate My Family, Seriously, Dude, I’m Gay (which never aired), and Married by America.

Those who worked on those shows “were instructed to falsify time records and were paid the same weekly rate regardless of the hours worked — the longer they worked, the lower the hourly rate,” the press release says.

According to the lawsuit,

“Plaintiffs were required to falsify their time cards, either by simply signing blank time cards or by entering pre-determined start and end times for each day of the week. In fact, plaintiffs worked far in excess of 40 hours per week during virtually every week of their employment, but they never received any premium overtime pay. Defendants attempted to conceal this unlawful practice by reflecting fictitious overtime hours on plaintiffs’ pay stubs.”

Writers Guild Announces Second Reality TV Wage Case Lawsuit on Behalf of Writers, Producers, and Editors [WGAw]
lawsuit [PDF] and pay stubs [PDF] [WGAw]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.