Producers Guild investigating “illegal and unethical” labor practices on reality TV, while writers are divded over WGA’s efforts

Reality TV shows are getting scrutiny from another union. The Producers Guild of America will investigate issues of “excessive hours, denial of overtime pay, intimidation regarding complaints and unsafe working conditions,” Variety reports. A message from the organization’s president and director to members said,

“Over the past year, it’s become increasingly clear that many companies engaged in the production of reality television have employed labor practices that are both illegal and unethical. As a guild, we intend to use our resources to investigate these apparent abuses and bring to bear what influence we have within this industry to ensure that the companies rise to the legal standards required by state and federal law and the moral standards demanded by simple human decency.”

Meanwhile, there’s some backlash about the Writers Guild’s efforts to unionize reality show writers. Variety reports that “some guild members have begun questioning the effectiveness of concentrating so much of the WGA’s resources on that sector,” while “other members remain strongly supportive of the strategy.”

At a meeting Thursday, David Young, the WGA’s interim executive director, said “the guild has spent several hundred thousand dollars on that campaign” to unionize America’s Next Top Model, according to Variety. In addition, “the WGA has signed up more than 1,100 reality writers who want to be repped by the guild, so he expects there to be many such battles in the future.”

PGA unveils reality probe and Scribes split on reality drive [Variety]

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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.