During the last pilot development season, 5 actors bonded while shooting Downwardly Mobile for NBC, a sitcom starring Roseanne Barr. Now Jason Antoon, Mary Birdsong, Greg Cromer, Tricia O’Kelley, and Romy Rosemont come together on YouTube for Bitter, Party Of 5. Here’s Episode 1 where they start out calling NBC Entertainment honcho Bob Greenblatt’s office to learn whether their pilot was picked up and, well, you can guess the rest. But I applaud the pluck:
EXCLUSIVE: It looks like the standoff between casting directors and TV studios over salaries for casting assistants may be over but not in the way casting directors had hoped. I hear today’s meeting between representatives for AMPTP, the casting directors and their union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, didn’t resolve the outstanding issue: casting directors’ request for the studios to play for a casting assistant on every pilot, in addition to a casting associate. Now the teamsters have sent out this email advising casting directors to go get jobs on pilots. I hear some casting directors who had held off out of solidarity with their brethren, are now trying to get the positions that were once offered to them, but it is not clear if they will be able to do so. The union said it will address the issue in its next union contract negotiations and at a meeting tomorrow night. “I think the teamsters misadvised them,” one source noted. “They should have approached gently and then delivered ultimatum.” Here is the teamsters’ email:
From your Steering Committee:
We had a meeting with the AMPTP today, January 19, 2011. As a result, our goal of achieving adequate staffing on pilots will be addressed in this year’s Union Contract negotiations.
For this current pilot season, we urge Casting Directors to resume your individual negotiations with the Studios.
There will be a meeting tomorrow night to answer your questions. The meeting will be held at:
ABC is really manning up this pilot season. After greenlighting Chris Moynihan’s comedy pilot Man Up earlier this month, the network has just picked up another project by that name, this one from writer-producer Jack Burditt (30 Rock), which has Tim Allen circling the lead. The multicamera Jack Burditt project, which has now being renamed to The Last Day of Man, originally landed at ABC in November with a put pilot commitment after a bidding war with CBS. The project, from 20th TV and 21 Laps/Adelstein Prod., centers on a guy fighting for his manhood in a world of women. Burditt is executive producing with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy and Becky Clements.
There is a sense of cautious optimism in the TV casting circles this evening that the stalemate over hiring outside casting directors for pilots might come to an end tomorrow. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the TV studios, has called a meeting with representatives of the casting directors for midday tomorrow. At the heart of the problem is casting directors’ request to get “adequate staffing” or that studios pay for an assistant in addition to the casting director and casting associate on every pilot, something that studios have been balking at. Since this is not an union issue and it is not covered by the casting directors’ basic agreement with the studios, there is nothing to negotiate at the meeting tomorrow, a casting director source stressed. “We are going to listen to what they have to say and are hoping to come to some type of understanding of each other’s needs,” the source said. Casting directors have said that hiring an assistant has now become necessary on every pilot, not just in some cases as the studios have contended.
There has been little movement on both sides since my last story on the issue on Saturday. Michael Patrick King’s NBC/WBTV drama pilot closed a deal with a casting director that includes an assistant, while ABC Studios released the first pilot breakdown that identified it as being cast internally, Shonda Rhimes’ untitled fixer drama. (ABC Studios was the first TV studio to opt to start casting pilots internally in light of the ongoing standoff with casting directors.) The news in my Saturday story that La Padura & Hart Casting has become the first casting agency to sign for a pilot without an extra assistant provision created quiet a stir in the comments’ section, including some pointed remarks toward the agency. In response to that, one of La Padura/Hart principals, Jason La Padura, explained the duo’s position in a comment. Here is what he wrote: Read More »
The ongoing dispute between casting directors on pilots and TV studios continues with no end in sight. As we first reported on Thursday, studios have not been able to sign deals with casting directors for the past couple of weeks over the issue of pay for casting assistants. While studios pay for casting directors and associates, casting directors in many cases have to foot the bill for an assistant, a non-union position not covered by the casting directors’ contract with AMPTP. Casting directors now insist that studios cover the cost for that, with the fate of 80+ broadcast pilots that have to be cast in the next 2 months at stake.
I hear the studios are still not budging. ABC Studios, which has received a number of early pilot orders over the past 2 weeks, has begun to cast them internally. Other studios are preparing to do the same. Over the past 48 hours, we also had the first deal with a casting director that closed without the assistant provision. Casting agency La Padura & Hart Casting, whose credits include the High … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The broadcast networks are starting to pick up drama and comedy pilots for next fall. But who will cast them? I hear no deal with casting directors for the pilots ordered since the beginning of the year have closed as casting directors and TV studios are in a bitter standoff. The issue at hand is who will pay for casting directors’ assistants and associates, with casting directors demanding that the studio pick up the tab. I hear in the past TV studios would sometimes cover those costs on a case-to-case basis but this time, casting directors have banded together to demand that this becomes a standard industry-wide practice. The TV studios have refused, and the two sides are now at a standstill.
In 2005, the film and TV casting directors became unionized, joining the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. So I hear the teamsters have now gotten involved in the conflict and are meeting with the studios. “It will be very interesting,” one talent agent said. The timing of the action seems carefully chosen as it jeopardizes the broadcast networks’ pilot season, the most intense production period on the TV calendar. Some 80+ pilots are cast from January to March every year by the broadcast networks and delaying the start of that process could wreak havoc in the networks’ upfront plans. (The last time the networks’ pilot season was pushed was during the 2007-08 writers strike, with some networks, like CBS … Read More »