Gameshow draws WGA ire

Guild takes shot at 'Temptation'

Taking a second shot at “Temptation,” the Writers Guild of America has blasted its production company again over its refusal to give the guild coverage of the gameshow.

The WGA staged a noisy demonstration Thursday morning outside Tribune Studios in Hollywood — where “Temptation” is produced — in support of the four writers who left the show Aug. 28 over lack of WGA coverage and amid allegations of unfair working conditions, such as 18-hour days without paid overtime. The guild held a similar event on Sept. 18.

“Temptation” is produced by Twentieth Television and FremantleMedia.

Fremantle general counsel David Shall took issue with the allegation of excessive hours, asserting that the show adheres to state law. He also said the WGA had repeatedly spurned efforts by Fremantle to meet about the writers.

WGA West president Patric Verrone was among some 100 picketers. Verrone also spoke at a half-hour rally along with striking “Temptation” writers Aaron Solomon and Rosemarie Di Salvo, TV writers Matthew Weiner and Lou DiMaggio and SAG board member Anne-Marie Johnson.

“The Writers Guild represents gameshow writers,” Verrone said. “FremantleMedia has no excuse for refusing to bargain with us to give these writers the benefits they deserve. We are here today to resist ‘Temptation’ and free the Fremantle four!”

Members of SAG, AFTRA and the Teamsters also joined the picket line.

Both sides agreed that Fremantle and the WGA recently agreed to meet to discuss the issue of WGA jurisdiction — but not until Oct. 9, when the show’s schedule of shooting 170 episodes will be ending.

Shall also took issue with the guild’s tactics, such as the WGA’s assertion last month that attempts to negotiate had failed when there had been no contact and a guild delegation’s appearance, unanounced, at Fremantle offices.

“Based on their past actions, we don’t have an obligation to meet with them,” Shall said. “But we’ve still agreed to meet with them.”

The WGA West also released a letter that exec director David Young sent this week to 28 local TV stations airing “Temptation,” noting that the four writers are “extremely concerned” about the quality of the remaining episodes.

“It is our understanding that most of the material is being written by inexperienced writers and other staff of the show,” the letter added. “As a local station airing ‘Temptation,’ I urge you to engage management at Fox and MyNetwork to expeditiously intervene and resolve this situation in order to ensure the quality of the program.”

The WGA’s move against “Temptation” is the latest in a series of initiatives to gain jurisdiction over non-union writing work. The guild’s included expansion of jurisdiction in reality, gameshows and animation as a key demand in its contract negotiations with the Allliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

Talks between the AMPTP and WGA are set to resume next Thursday.

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