Survivor editors now on strike

Survivor San Juan Del Sur: Blood vs Water

Editors working on Survivor–including those who’ve been nominated for an Emmy and some who’ve been with the show all 29 seasons–want to be represented by a union. The Motion Picture Editors Guild has asked executive producer Mark Burnett’s production company for negotiations. While they have not stopped work on Survivor San Juan Del Sur, the premiere episode is still being worked on and could possibly be delayed.

Deadline reports:

“Representing about two dozen editors, the Motion Picture Editors Guild today told Mark Burnett and his Island Post Productions that they want a union contract. At present, the demand is for immediate negotiations and the editors and assistants are still on the job. However, with just over a month before the recently announced expanded September 24 debut of Season 29 of the reality show the move by the Santa Monica-based post crew could shuttle the beginning of Survivor: San Juan del Sur if this escalates to a walk-out or further labor action, I’ve learned. ‘The premiere episode isn’t even done yet,’ a source close to the editing action told me. ‘With the plan of a 90-minute opener and the team still going through footage, any delay of more than a few days would be very hard on the schedule.'”

Deadline notes that both Last Comic Standing and Naked and Afraid each had similar unionization demands that led to work shutdowns before their premieres, so the timing is clearly strategic.

Meanwhile, editors for Shark Tank and The Voice are represented by IATSE.

Survivor’s editors are on strike

Update, Aug. 13, 3:20 p.m. The show’s editors went on strike today:

About two The editors guild instructed its “members & prospective members” to not to work on the show. The Motion Picture Editors Guild’s president, , said:

“Over the course of 28 seasons, the postproduction crew of Survivor has crafted a wildly successful program, one that has helped to define the genre of reality television. For each week’s show, these artists and craftspeople distill over 200 hours of raw footage down to one hour of primetime entertainment for millions. These talented individuals seek the same basic industry standards that their counterparts on most primetime broadcast network programs have long enjoyed. After 28 successful seasons and 16 Emmy nominations for outstanding editing, that doesn’t seem too much to ask.”

No, it does not–especially since editors for Burnett’s other shows are represented by the union, as are editors for Big Brother.

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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.