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WGA Strike: Truth and Fiction in the NYT

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Brooks Barnes, the NYT’s guy in LA, is once again ever so wrong. Dancing With The Stars is a union show.

And his quoted source, Deborah Blum, hasn’t had a writing credit since 1999, and that one just might not be a union gig.

Jennifer Pozer tries to explain the differences in the Huffington Post, but gets a little tangled. Yes, reality shows have “writers” who are usually credited as story producers. The WGA does not represent them, and doesn’t have any contracts with the production companies that employ them.

Many reality writers are rather bitter at the WGA’s mismanagement of the short lived strike of the writers of America’s Next Top Model. Some reality story producers are WGA members, and either can’t get hired in episodic or sitcoms or like the reality genre. Plenty of picketers are of an older generation, and thus the residuals issue means a lot–especially as they can’t get hired in the notoriously agist world of TV writing.

Brian Stelter, late of mb.com, blogs about the fate of talk show guests, but he means only late-night talk. Some day-time talk shows use WGA writers, like Dr. Phil, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Others, like the Oprah Winfrey Show or Disney-ABC’s Live With Regis and Kelly do not.

ET and The Insider writers labor under separate WGA news contracts. So do writers on NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood, which will continue.

(photo by The Associated Press)

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