Exactly two weeks after crew members on NBC’s Biggest Loser walked off the set, starting an IATSE-led strike against the producers of the veteran reality series, Reveille Prods., 3 Ball Prods. and 25/7 Prods, the union and the production companies announced they have reached a tentative agreement, putting an end to the strike that crippled production on Biggest Loser for the past 2 weeks. At stake were crew members’ health benefits as the Biggest Loser producers don’t offer any and, as a non-union show, working on it didn’t count toward the IA days crew members need to accumulate in order to get benefits through the union. The production companies, which have deals with DGA and AFTRA, had resisted going union with IATSE because of the steep price tag involved, between a half million dollars and $2 million, depending on who you talk to, noting that they paid the crew wages substantially higher than the the union minimum to make up for the lack of benefits. But sources close to the crew had countered that much smaller cable reality series work under IA deals, so Biggest Loser should be able to afford the switch. The strike drew growing support from outside and within the show. It was endorsed by the LA County AFL-CIO on Tuesday and then by the state’s California Federation of Labor on Thursday. The show’s talent, trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper and host Alison Sweeney, participated in an auction to raise money for the striking crew. Michaels and Harper also didn’t show up for filming on Monday as they didn’t want to cross the picket line despite having a “no strike” clause in their AFTRA contracts and and did cross it on Thursday after getting assurances that the producers and IATSE were negotiating a deal. Here is the two side’s official announcement.
Los Angeles – Both the IATSE and the producers of “The Biggest Loser” are pleased to announce that a tentative agreement has been reached ending a week-long strike by the IA against the Reveille program
Production on the hit NBC show shut down temporarily Monday, Nov. 8, after members of the production crew voted to support the IA. Intensive talks took place during the week and over the weekend and the new agreement was ratified by the crew in a meeting this morning. As previously reported, AFTRA and DGA already have agreements with the production.
Crew and members of other IA locals have been picketing at the Calabasas location of the show since Tuesday, although production continued during the picketing.
Mike Miller, Vice President of the IA and Director of its Motion Picture and Television Division said, “This agreement is a positive step forward for the crew of ‘The Biggest Loser,’ especially in the area of health benefits. We are pleased to see them go back to work.” Lee Rierson, Managing Director and Head of Business and Operations for Reveille said, “We have reached a fair agreement with the IA while managing to avoid significant disruption to the production, and are happy to see our entire crew working together again.”
More major union support for the striking crew members on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. After being endorsed on a county level by the LA County AFL-CIO on Tuesday, the IATSE-led strike, now in its second week, was just sanctioned by the state’s California Federation of Labor:
(Oakland) –The California
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IATSE took the strike against NBC’s reality series The Biggest Loser to NBC. Representatives for the union tonight hung a banner about the labor dispute in front of the NBC compound in Burbank. (photo via Twitter) The strike began … Read More »
The crowd on the picket line at The Biggest Loser ranch is expected to be significantly larger tomorrow after the LA County AFL-CIO affiliate today endorsed the IATSE-led strike by the reality series’ crew and vowed to send picketers from some of the 350 unions and more than 800,000 unions … Read More »
NBC’s The Biggest Loser completed its first day of filming while picketed by some 50 striking crew members. The show’s two trainers, Jilian Michaels, who had said she won’t cross the picket line, and Bob Harper, were not scheduled to work, so they didn’t show up at The Biggest Loser … Read More »
PHOTOS: IATSE Strikers vs ‘Biggest Loser’ Scabs
An internal IATSE memo circulated late last night suggesting that NBC’s Biggest Loser producers may have moved up the call time, originally scheduled … Read More »
As you know, Deadline TV Editor Nellie Andreeva has been keeping you up-to-date on every development of this breaking labor story. (‘Biggest Loser’ Production To Resume On Monday With Replacements) Now here’s my opinion: NBC needs to put an immediate stop to this disgusting situation before someone gets hurt. Shame on the broadcast network for embracing a show that’s now bringing in scab workers on Monday to replace striking IATSE members. NBC can and should put its foot down after 10 seasons of airing The Biggest Loser and use its influence with Shine Group’s Reveille Productions and 25/7 Productions, and JD Roth’s and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks-owned 3 Ball Productions, to stop the confrontation. And I’m calling on NBC Universal Television Group President/COO Jeff Gaspin to get personally involved. I’m also calling on Shine’s Elizabeth Murdoch to consider her prominence in the entertainment biz and do the right thing. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE… 3RD UPDATE FRIDAY 11PM: It’s war! I hear that The Biggest Loser producers, Shine Group’s Reveille and JD Roth’s and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks-owned 3 Ball Prods., are planning to resume production on the weight-loss reality series on Monday morning after a week-long shutdown because of the IATSE-backed strike by crew members. But the restart of filming is not the result of an agreement with IATSE. I hear the producers are bringing in replacements and the show will continue to be non-union. (In a letter sent to the crew members on Tuesday, the full text of which is displayed in the 2nd Updatedbelow, the producers threaten striking crew members that their jobs may be lost if they hire permanent replacements.) I hear that no Biggest Loser crew members are expected to cross the picket line on Monday. “Should be ugly,” one insider says. Meanwhile, I hear that the Biggest Loser employees who are striking to go union have received support from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, a voluntary federation of 57 national and international unions, which has issued a “Do Not Patronize” sanction against the Biggest Loser producers. The companies’ put on AFL-CIO “Do Not Patronize” list “have been identified as unfair employers and adversaries of the labor movement, and all trade unionists and friends of organized labor are urged not to patronize those businesses,” according to the organization’s Web site.
EXCLUSIVE… 2ND UPDATE THURSDAY 4PM: It’s Day 3 of IATSE’s strike against veteran NBC reality series The Biggest Loser and the production companies behind it, mainly Reveille Prods. and 3 Ball Prods. As we first reported, the strike started on Monday night when the show’s crew walked off the set. The picketing, which started yesterday at the production location aka The Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, spread today to the Redondo Beach offices of 3 Ball where the show is being edited. Production on the series’s upcoming 11th season continues to be halted. Meanwhile, the producers have sent a stern Facts About a Strike letter to the crew, stressing that they may hire permanent replacements for the striking members. (letter posted below.) The strike is taking a toll on the striking employees. “Most of the crew is bummed, but determined,” one insider said. “Many have been on the show for 4 or 5 seasons. They are sticking together, many on the picket lines.” Read More »