Hit food network show Worst Cooks In America is the first reality series to have halted production due to strikes – after the crew halted production mid-production over a bitter wage dispute, weeks after Bravo star Bethenny Frankel called on reality stars to join the SAG. AFTRA strikes.
The long-running TV series was due to start filming in New York last week, but The Food Network and Bright Road Productions refused to reach an agreement on a union deal with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
IATSE confirmed the strike on Friday on its official Instagram page, claiming that the crew stopped working in Long Island City because Bright Road Productions refused to pay “fair wages and benefits.”
“For far too long, unscripted TV crews have gone without industry wages and benefits!” Now they’re coming together to make better demands,” the post reads.
Out of order: Production of “Worst Cooks In America” was halted after the Food Network declined an invitation to talks about unions
Crew on strike: IATSE confirmed industrial action over “below average wages” and lack of benefits
“The crew are striking for union recognition and their goal is a union contract,” said IATSE spokesman Jonas Loeb. “The crew has been out and ready to negotiate since Wednesday.”
has reached out to the Food Network for comment.
“If we can shoot these reality shows our members will have a bigger lifeline in these bigger strikes,” an IATSE member wrote on Facebook last week.
Season 27 of Worst Cooks In America is understood to have been filming when production was halted.
The previous season premiered earlier this month on August 6 and features a group of single recruits desperate to learn cooking skills to impress future dates.
Led by chefs Jeff Mauro and Anne Burrell, recruits will compete in pairs – though only one will win the $25,000 grand prize.
Worst Cooks In America first launched in 2010 and sees between 12 and 16 participants with little cooking skills in a culinary boot camp where they learn a range of techniques from baking to seasoning and knife skills.
Previous celebrity issues have featured actor Jonathan Lipnicki, retired figure skater Tonya Harding and Orange Is The New Black star Taryn Manning in the kitchen.
Action: IATSE and crew are understood to be picketing the stage this week
Hollywood is closed: SAG-AFTRA is on strike alongside the WGA, which began industrial action in May
The long-running series “Worst Cooks In America” is already in its 26th season
On the celebrity edition of the show, the winner receives a $50,000 prize to donate to a charity of their choice.
IATSE represents more than 168,000 entertainment industry professionals throughout the United States and Canada, including stagehands, front-of-house workers, cloakroom attendants, hair and makeup artists, film and television production technicians, broadcast technicians, set designers, designers, animators and audiovisual media technician.
The aim of the union is to ensure strong representation and achieve better wages, training, benefits and general working conditions.
It has been over a month since members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike after negotiations collapsed over new deals with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). .
SAG-AFTRA, which represents approximately 160,000 actors in the US, joined its peers from the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who resigned on May 2nd.
In reality TV, former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel has led an army of stars fighting over residual wages.
Earlier this month, she was among several stars who sent a letter to NBC and Bravo accusing the network of “covering up sexual violence, condoning revenge porn, exploiting minors and denying mental health treatment.”
Taking a stand: Bethenny Frankel has argued that reality stars were paid as “peanuts” for years and financially exploited by the networks
The letter also made allegations of “grotesque and depraved abuse” and allegations that stars had been “victimized mentally, physically and financially.”
“The day of reckoning has come,” it said, accusing the network executives of deliberately damaging the mental health of the cast by infusing them with alcohol and depriving them of food and sleep.
In a statement, NBC said it is “committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for cast and crew on our reality shows.”
“To begin with, we require our outside production partners to have appropriate workplace policies and training in place,” said a spokesman for NBCUniversal.
“When complaints are brought to our attention, we will work with our manufacturing partners to ensure that appropriate timely action is taken or will be taken, including investigations, medical and/or psychological support and other remedial action that may be warranted, such as: B. Personnel changes.” .’
More recently, reality show stars from NBC and Bravo have accused the networks of “grotesque and depraved” treatment on set and called for releases from their non-disclosure agreements so they can expose the “system’s decay” without fear of retribution.
In a bombastic letter sent to the network on Sunday, the celebrity’s attorney, Bryan J. Freedman, said that “the scale and magnitude of the wrongdoing is greater than previously realized.”
According to the attorney, the alleged victims were “impossible” to fully expose the company’s “systemic decay” behind the scenes due to illegal non-disclosure agreements that NBC “wields like a sword.”
Freedman, who previously represented the likes of Seth Rogan and Julia Roberts, said that “a significant number of cast and crew members have appeared on the NBCUniversal unscripted show,” including NBC, Bravo and E! have asserted claims.