NBC's ‘Fashion Star’ Shut Down by IATSE Walkout
IATSE crew members picketed the NBC reality show “Fashion Star” on Saturday, resulting in a production halt that shut down a scheduled 1:30 p.m. taping and dismissal for the day of production personnel and audience. A union organizer told The Hollywood Reporter that the union will remain on strike against the show until a contract is reached.
“We’re on strike against this show until we have a contract,” said IATSE official Vanessa Holtgrew.
When that might be is unknown, since no talks are in progress. The issue, as usual in the contemporary economy, is pension and health benefits.
“A big, successful primetime show like this – I don’t see why they shouldn’t be union,” Holtgrew said. “I hope we get a contract for these folks so they can get their health and pension, and go back to making their show.”
The show is in production on its second season. It’s produced by Electus, 5x5 Media, and Magical Elves, as well as the Global Fashion Association.
THR has reached out to NBC and the production companies. NBC referred inquiries to Electus, but THR has not heard back from them or the other production entities yet.
Holtgrew said that a total of about 70 crew picketed the show at Hollywood Center Studios and a location near the Arclight theatre (Sunset and Vine, in Hollywood), each with two separate entrances.
There are numerous union crew members on the non-union show – which is permitted under IATSE rules – but without a union contract they are not receiving pension and health benefits. Holtgrew said that wage rates are not a factor in the strike.
The decline of motion picture and TV drama production in Los Angeles has left reality and half-hour comedy as key factors in the local business. IATSE has been active in organizing reality, and Holtgrew and IATSE official Mike Miller said to expect more job actions in the next few months.
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