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WGA targets ‘American Idol’

Guild kicks off Truth Tour to organize reality

After taking a post-strike hiatus, the Writers Guild of America is renewing its push to organize reality shows by targeting “American Idol.”

It’s kicking off the Truth Tour with a Wednesday morning press conference at WGA headquarters followed by the staging of an alternative version of “American Idol” the next day in San Francisco outside the Cow Palace, where “American Idol” is holding auditions for next season.

The WGA had no official comment about the events, but it began notifying strike supporters this week of the Truth Tour plans. It said the news conference will feature speeches from California politicians, keynote celebrities and guild leaders (with free T-shirts given out to all attendees).

Following the news conference, as many as 100 attendees will board a WGA-chartered bus to San Francisco. The guild has told supporters that its own version of “American Idol” will be “the version they don’t want you to see.”

The note to supporters said the WGA will pay for transportation and lodging for anyone able to go to San Francisco, even if they are not members.

Move comes five months after the end of the WGA strike, which saw the guild keep its demands for jurisdiction into reality and animation on the table until the final weeks of the work stoppage.

The WGA’s also been active over the past three years in seeking to expand its jurisdiction over reality, animation and gameshows. The guild staged dozens of demonstrations in 2006 in support of a dozen writers who walked off “America’s Next Top Model” in pursuit of WGA coverage; in response the producers eliminated the writer slots.

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