The Writers Guild of America East says that reality TV show producers and crew members are owed an average of $30,000 a year for unpaid overtime and a lack of breaks, which totals something like $40 million a year in the industry.
This new survey “found that 84% of nonfiction TV producers and writers work more than 40 hours a week almost every week, while 85% never receive overtime pay. More than 50% of the 315 people who responded said they had worked 80 hours or more in a week,” The New York Daily News reports. The story cites one example, Pawn Stars whose producers and writers–again, how that is defined is not clear–were paid $2,136 a week, and it compares that to the $6,712 a week that those who work on Royal Pains earn.
It’s not clear how “producers” or “writers” are defined here, though the Writers Guild has for years been trying to get those who work as story producers and editors classified as writers. It previously attempted to unionize them, and sued in 2005, a lawsuit that was settled in 2009, with networks paying more than $4 million.