CW, writers clash on contract

The dozen writers on “America’s Next Top Model” have gone on strike over the refusal of the fledgling CW network to give in to their demand for a Writers Guild of America contract.

“We are the overwhelming majority of those in the story department on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ who want to be represented by the WGA West,” said the scribes in a statement issued Friday in conjunction with their walkout. “While we are all very committed to this show, and we are proud of the work we do, we are taking a stand to get basic benefits and protections.”

The CW said in response, “We expect these issues to be resolved in the near future, and the show remains on track for its Sept. 20 launch on the CW.”

The writers had set a July 19 deadline for the net to sign a WGA pact. The CW had responded by asserting that the writers and the WGA should take the issue to the National Labor Relations Board so that the federal agency could then conduct an election — a step that would take many months to complete.

The writers also said they did not want to jeopardize their positive working relationship. “But what we are asking for isn’t unreasonable,” the “Model” writers said. “There is a double standard being applied, as our peers in dramatic television work under the protections of a WGA contract.”

The WGA hasn’t met with any success yet in organizing reality series, despite several years of pushing to get guild contracts for writers working on the shows. The WGA has reported signing up more than 1,000 writers who want to be repped by the guild.

Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists prexy John Connolly both spoke at a Friday rally in support of the striking “Model” writers.

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