There are more labor problems for Fashion Police. Today host Joan Rivers’ Rugby Productions had complaints filed against it by four more writers on the E! series. The scribes’ latest claims for back pay with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adds $400,000 to the $1.1 million that the reality show writers are already seeking in previous filings with the state last week. There are now 12 Fashion Police writers having filed claims against the show. As part of its process, the DLSE will hold hearings to see if in fact Rugby and Comcast-owned broadcaster E! Network are liable to the writers for back pay and penalties. Though Fashion Police is not unionized, the WGA West helped the writers with the legal paperwork today as it did in the complaints with the DLSE the writers filed against E! on April 3. Rivers herself is a member of the Guild. Fashion Police violated state laws requiring an employer to pay hourly employees their regular wage rate for all the time they worked in an eight-hour period, claim the writers. The scribes are also citing the law that requires overtime payment any work performed beyond eight hours in any workday or 40 hours in any workweek. “We have not seen any claim filed by anyone anywhere and therefore cannot comment at this time,” Rivers manager Larry A. Thompson told me today. E! said last week after the initial complaint was filed that it “values our Fashion Police writers and we pay them fairly and in full legal compliance.” Fashion Police debuted on E! in September 2010.
UPDATE, 1:09 PM: E! has responded to the claims that Fashion Police writers have made to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office that the network owes them more than $1 million in back wages. “E! values our Fashion Police writers and we pay them fairly and in full legal compliance,” the network said today. The WGA West helped the reality TV scribes with the filing to the DLSE against the non-unionized show.
PREVIOUSLY, 11:38 AM: E!’s Joan Rivers-hosted fashion-dish panel show Fashion Police ran afoul of California law by not compensating its writers for all of the regular and overtime hours they’ve worked, according to a filing with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office. Though the show is not unionized, the WGA West helped the writers with the legal paperwork and sent out this release today:
Los Angeles – Writers on E!’s Fashion Police filed claims today with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) that could result in the cable TV network having to pay more than one million dollars in back wages. The writers allege that E! has broken state labor law by not compensating them for all of the regular and overtime hours they’ve worked.
According to the writers, Fashion Police ignores the California laws that require an employer to pay hourly employees their regular wage rate for all time worked in an eight-hour period. In addition, the law requires paying overtime for employment beyond eight hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Ten scribes have been named winners of the WGA West‘s 2013 Writer Access Project program, which recognizes “diverse television writers” in comedy and drama script categories. The honorees: Michael DiGaetano, Joey Manderino Joseph Neustein and Lena Waithe for comedy; and Sherry Carnes, Dawn Comer Jefferson, Margaux Froley, Geetika Lizardi, Leslie Valdes and Thomas Wong for drama. (See their background info here.)
The program, run by the WGA West Diversity Department, identifies writers with TV staffing experience and makes samples of their work available to showrunners, producers, network and studio executives, and agents and managers, to provide increased access. Qualified guild members were invited to submit their work in one of five diversity categories: minority writers; writers with disabilities; women writers; writers age 55 and over; and gay and lesbian writers. The scripts were read and scored on a blind submission basis by WGAW members serving as judges, including showrunners and producers.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
While incremental job gains for minority and women TV writers have been made in the last decade-plus, staffing levels remain “widely disproportionate” to the demographics of the U.S. population, says WGA West. The not-too-surprising results of the guild’s most recent TV staffing report were revealed during a press conference this morning at WGAW headquarters. The 2013 TV Staffing Brief (read the full report here) highlights three traditionally underemployed groups in the TV industry: women, minority and older writers.
Sociology professor Darnell Hunt, author of the report and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, said that while women have seen a 5% increase in writing staff jobs between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, at the current rate of growth it would take women “42 years to catch up with men” in terms of TV writing staff jobs.
Other stats from the report: Minority writers nearly doubled their share of staff writing positions during that same period, from 7.5% to 15.6%, but still remain severely underrepresented compared to the population at large. Among the ranks of TV executive producer in the 2011-2012 season, women were underrepresented by factor of more than 2 to 1 “among writers who run TV shows” and minorities were underrepresented by a factor of nearly 5 to 1.
In the 2010-2011 season, just 9% of pilots had “at least one minority writer attached” and 24% of pilots had at least one woman writer attached.
For the first time in 2011-12, writers over 40 claimed a majority share of TV staff positions.
UPDATE, 3:56 PM: The issue at WGA West headquarters has been resolved, I have learned. Whatever it was it was obviously not that big a deal — there was no evacuation of staff from the …
Tom Stoppard, the screenwriter and playwright whose latest feature film work is this year’s Anna Karenina, has been named the winner of the WGA West‘s 2013 Laurel Award for Screen, the guild’s lifetime achievement award for movies. He will receive the honor February 17 during the WGA Awards‘ West Coast ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. Previous recipients include David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Benton, Barry Levinson, Steven Zaillian, and Eric Roth last year.
Stoppard has adapted everyone from Nabokov and le Carre to Doctorow and Tolstoy. He wrote and won an Oscar for 1998′s Best Picture winner Shakespeare In Love and was nominated for co-writing 1986′s Brazil. He also won four Best Play Tony Awards in his career, which began in 1960 as a London playwright before jumping into television in 1965. Here’s the WGA West’s full release:
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has named Emmy-winning Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal as its 2013 Valentine Davies Award honoree in recognition of his humanitarian efforts on behalf of writers. Rosenthal will be feted, along with other honorees, at the WGAW’s 2013 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 17, 2013, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
“Not only is Phil Rosenthal an extraordinarily talented writer whose work has brought laughter to millions of viewers around the globe, he’s also used his great success to give back to the community around him, in particular by aiding at-risk students who need his help the most. His charitable work not only inspires us, but makes his peers proud to call themselves writers. For his continued support of a variety of civic initiatives, and for a generosity that effects positive change and promotes opportunities for creative expression, it’s no surprise that everybody loves Phil,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser.
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has named two-time WGAW President Daniel Petrie, Jr. as its 2013 Morgan Cox Award honoree in recognition of his longtime service to the Guild. The award will be presented at the WGAW’s 2013 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 17, 2013, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
“Dan Petrie, Jr. is a remarkable man, distinguished for his creative accomplishments as an Oscar®-nominated screenwriter, as a producer and as a director, and no less distinguished for his long and passionate commitment to the well-being of all writers. Dan has served this Guild for 25 years, twice as President. He has guided us through difficult times. A champion of our fervent and often raucous democracy, with a quiet manner and a firm hand, Dan made our many voices our strength. In the process, he earned the respect of all who served with him. He has always had mine. It is fitting, therefore, that Dan Petrie, Jr. should be the unanimous choice of the Board to receive this year’s Morgan Cox Award,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser.
Joshua Brand and John Falsey, who co-created hit TV series including Northern Exposure, St. Elsewhere and I’ll Fly Away, have been awarded the WGA West‘s 2013 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television. The honor, the guild’s lifetime achievement award for outstanding television writing, will be bestowed February 17 during the WGA Awards‘ West Coast ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. “Writers Joshua Brand and John Falsey’s have left an indelible imprint on the television landscape, co-creating some of TV’s most enduring, memorable series that have both entertained and moved a generation of viewers”, said WGAW president Christopher Keyser. “Defined by an expert blend of sharp observation, dry wit, and honest emotion, their work is, like a singer with a five-octave range, breathtaking in its scope and its power. Together, Brand and Falsey have created an enviable legacy that both veteran and up-and-coming writers can aspire to match”.
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West announced today that it is contributing $977,095 to The Actors Fund. The monies are specifically earmarked for emergency financial assistance needed by entertainment professionals for basic living expenses such as rent or medical bills. The Fund provides support for everyone in entertainment – writers, designers, sound technicians, dancers, directors, film editors, stagehands, electricians, and actors – with a broad spectrum of programs designed to help with the serious economic, health or employment challenges they face.
There are 15 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the WGAW’s Board of Directors, as follows: Meg LeFauve, Marjorie David, David Shore (incumbent), Terrence Coli, John Aboud, Eric Small, Jordan Mechner, Barbara Turner, Michael Oates Palmer, Scott Alexander, Alexander Cary, David A. Goodman (inc.), Katherine Fugate (inc.), Kathy Kiernan (inc.), Chip Johannessen. (Previously announced Board candidates Patrick Sean Smith and Zoanne Clack withdrew their candidacies.)
There’s little encouraging news for film and TV writers in the financial report for 2011 out today from the Writers Guild of America, West. (Read the full document here.) The number of writers reporting earnings fell 2.3% to 4,338 — the lowest level in at least six years. The biggest category, television, was up a slight 0.4% to 3,320. That was more than outweighed by the 8.1% drop in screenwriters to 1,562. Meanwhile, writers’ total reported earnings dropped 5.9% to $911.7M, the lowest level since the 2008 recession, although the WGA says the numbers could improve as late reports come in. Television writers generated $559.2M, -1.2% from the all-time high set in 2010. But screenwriters saw $349.1M, -12.6%. “While late reports will offset this decline somewhat, the last two years have resulted in 15% fewer writers employed in screen, earning 20% less in the aggregate,” the WGA says.
The guild has unveiled a first list of 17 candidates to run for eight open spots on the WGAW‘s Board of Directors. The deadline for submitting nominees by petition is July 23, and the guild will hosts its annual …