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BET boosts bucks for yucks

Comics/AFTRA apply pressure, get 'View' fee upped

Cable network Black Entertainment Television has agreed to boost performance fees for comedians on “Comic View” from $150 to at least $1,000 following a yearlong campaign by comedians and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

BET, which has aired the show for eight seasons, had maintained that “Comic View” was intended for young and lesser-known comedians and not subject to union conditions. But campaign organizers contended that BET was paying unfair wages.

AFTRA’s efforts included outreach to comedians, press releases, advertising and interviews. During the campaign, the union was able to negotiate agreements with BET during the campaign for “Live From L.A.” and “BET’s 20th Anniversary Special.”

The union is also in negotiations for a BET talkshow entitled “Oh Drama” to be produced in Los Angeles.

“BET has recognized the importance of paying fair wages to performers working on their program,” said Jay Barnett, AFTRA director of television for the Los Angeles local. “We encourage BET in this practice and look forward to the company following up on its promises to performers.”

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