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 last Monday night when Biggest Loser crew members, joined by IATSE representatives, walked off the set of the show. The walkout was endorsed yesterday by AFL-CIO. Striking crew members have been picketing in front of the Biggest Loser Ranch in Calabasas where the reality series is filmed.
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 it represents. There won’t be much to picket though as Biggest Loser is not scheduled to be filming on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the show’s AFTRA-represented talent, trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper and host Alison Sweeney are yet to cross the picket line despite having no-strike clauses in their contracts. What’s more, the three are auctioning off a training session (Michaels/Harper) and a lunch date (Sweeney) on Ebay to support the relief fund established for the striking crew.
‘The Biggest Loser’ Strike Update: Show Wraps Day Of Filming, Picketers Face EPs, AFL-CIO To Sanction The Strike Tomorrow
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 Ranch where the reality series is filmed. Among those who did show up and crossed the picket line were executive producers J.D. Roth and Todd Nelson, founders/CEO’s of 3 Ball Prods. (see photo by Jim Stevenson below). Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, will hold a meeting tomorrow to sanction the IATSE-led strike by the crew of The Biggest Loser. A press event is scheduled for 11:15 AM. “The producers of this show want to make their own workers ‘the biggest losers’ and the labor movement in LA is not going to let that happen,” AFL-CIO’s Maria Elena Durazo said in a statement.
Here was the scene this morning at the Biggest Loser location in Calabassas when replacement workers arrived for work in the pre-dawn hours and were confronted by IATSE strikers as the scabs crossed the union’s picket lines. At bottom, strikers picket the gym where the Biggest Loser contestants work out. (Photos exclusive to Deadline by Jim Stevenson)
An internal IATSE memo circulated late last night suggesting that NBC’s Biggest Loser producers may have moved up the call time, originally scheduled for 5 AM, so that their replacement workers would avoid facing IATSE picketers. “Do we have them on the run?” the memo said. “Don’t let their scheming work. Let’s get their [there] and inform the brothers and sisters that are crossing the line that there is a better way to get work. Let’s give them the chance to show their dedication to keeping our industry one of responsible professionals. Call Time for Biggest Loser is now 4:00 AM. Please Please Please, meet us on the line at: King Gillette Ranch.” Strikers did indeed gather at 4 AM and have been picketing ever since in Calabasas where filming of the long-running reality series was scheduled to resume today with replacement workers in for striking crew members. IATSE called the strike following a walkout by crew members a week ago. Here is an early photo from the picket lines which CBS 2 reporter Suraya Fadel posted via Twitter.
IATSE says the strike followed a 100% vote by the Biggest Loser crew to support IA, but other insiders say that a little less than half of the reality series’ 100 crew members walked out on last Monday night and have been striking. (About 40 crew members on the show are IATSE members.) …