WGA, FremantleMedia Spar Over Ozzy Osbourne Show

Flap Centers On Scripted Vs. Unscripted Pay Scale

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.