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Crewmembers from Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset are picketing the offices of Ryan Seacrest Productions until the company agrees to begin contract talks — a move which has delayed the show’s upcoming season premiere.
The fourth season of the docuseries was scheduled to premiere Oct. 13, but Bravo tellsTHR that the first episode is being postponed to an undetermined date.
The Motion Picture Editors Guild (IATSE Local 700), acting on behalf of Shahs’ nonunionized crew, sent a letter to RSP subsidiary Berne Productions on Sept. 9 to request a meeting. After getting no response, the postproduction crew walked off the job Wednesday morning and convened outside RSP’s Miracle Mile offices at 10 a.m. Thursday to form a picket line that lasted all day and grew to as many as 30 participants at one point, including state senator Holly Mitchell.
Receiving union recognition would allow Shahs’ crew, whose 20 to 25 members mostly work in postproduction, to receive health care and retirement benefits, among other job security gains.
“Reality TV has grown up nonunion as a way to keep labor costs low,” IATSE Local 700 national organizer Rob Callahan told The Hollywood Reporter. “But there’s an increasing sensibility — the zeitgeist, really — that the folks that do this work are making television [shows] very lucrative for their employers, and they want to have the same security as everybody else.”
Last month, MPEG successfully helped Survivor’s postproduction crew gain union recognition with its employer, Mark Burnett’s Island Post Productions, after a one-day strike. That quick resolution allowed the long-running CBS show to avoid delaying the Sept. 24 premiere of its 29th season.
Ryan Seacrest Productions has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Sept. 11, 6:13 p.m.: Updated to add Bravo’s announcement of the postponed premiere date.
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