The Writers Guild of America (East and West) and FremantleMedia North America traded jabs Wednesday over the pay scale for a proposed new Fox comedy-variety show starring Ozzy Osbourne and family.
The issue appears to be whether writers should be paid the scripted rate for a show that combines both scripted and unscripted elements.
"Fremantle contacted the WGAW to see if we would agree to a sub-standard contract," said the heads of WGA in a letter to members. "Attempting to pay as little as possible to the writers on the show, Fremantle asked to treat it as “half-scripted” and pay greatly reduced writing fees to those writers who wrote skits, interview material, intros, and outros...We refused to agree to such a deal because it would drastically undermine hard-won minimums and standards.
Fremantle saw it differently. "FremantleMedia North America contacted the WGA in good faith, hoping to employ Guild writers for a nontraditional show that combines elements of both variety and reality programming," said the company in a statement. "Unfortunately, after only a few phone conversations with our representatives, the Guild chose to end discussions [and] ordered its membership to not write for the show."
A WGA West spokesperson phoned B&C to claim it had an email showing that it was Fremantle that broke off talks, but declined to share the email when asked.