WGAw reality writers “invade” panel discussion

As part of their quest for unionization, the Writers Guild of America West reality TV writers and editors’ organizing committee “invade[d]” and “interrupted” a panel discussion at a conference yesterday.

The panel discussion was “Reality TV: How Far Can You Push the Envelope?” and featured “Fox Reality Television operations chief David Lyle, Jonathan Murray of Bunim-Murray Prods., ‘American Idol’ executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, ‘The Amazing Race’ executive producer Bertram Van Munster and ABC vp alternative series and specials Andrea Wong,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Despite the WGAW’s use of words such as “invade,” the protesters didn’t do anything sexy like set fire to the curtains, streak, or replace the audio with slurping noises recorded at a different time. Instead, they “leafleted the audience and engaged the panelists in a dialogue on the refusal of both networks and reality TV producers to recognize their demand for union recognition,” according to a WGAw press release.

No word about how effective this protest was, but the WGAw is promising to harass reality TV execs from now until they get what they want. In a statement, WGAw President Patric M. Verrone said, “The reality television industry is now on notice that, whenever its producers and network executives make public appearances, they can expect WGAw writers and storytellers to be there to stake their claim. This Guild will not stand idly by until we have a signed contract on behalf of these unappreciated men and women. Their fight is our fight.”

WGAW crew crashes panel on reality TV [Hollywood Reporter]
Reality TV Storytellers Invade Industry Conference as Part of Writers Guild’s Ongoing Organizing Campaign [WGAw press release]

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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.