The Writers Guild of America escalated its fight over reality TV, backing a suit by a dozen writers who accused eight networks and production companies of violating California labor laws.
The suit – filed Thursday in California state court – alleges that the producers broke laws governing wages, overtime, and meal breaks.
The writers worked as "story editors" or producers on shows including The Bachelor, The Two Timer, The Will, and The Real Gilligan's Island. The suit charges that the writers were required to fudge time cards,cloaking the amount of overtime they put into the shows, and were only paid flat weekly rates.
Defendants include ABC, CBS, WB and TBS, plus four production companies: Next Entertainment, Telepictures Productions, Syndicated Productions, and Dawn Syndicated Productions.
The writers asked the court to certify the suit as a class action that would cover a number of story editors and producers for the affected shows.
The suit is part of the WGA’s campaign to organize reality show writers, who the union claims are little different than writers on sitcoms and dramas already covered by a bargaining agreement with Hollywood studios.
The WB, for one, didn't need a script writer for its comment on the suit: "We do not comment on pending litigation," said a spokesman for the netlet. CBS similarly had no comment.