On Friday, NBCUniversal-owned cable network Bravo took over production of Shahs Of Sunset from Ryan Seacrest Productions in a move designed to replace striking editors who walked off the job Sept. 10 demanding an IATSE union contract. The show was originally scheduled to premiere Oct. 13, but the strike forced Bravo to delay the launch.
According to a statement from Ryan Seacrest Productions: “Bravo controls the rights to Shahs of Sunset, and as a result, makes all final decisions regarding production and budgetary matters. Ryan Seacrest Productions (RSP) has deferred to the network¹s decision for Bravo to assume all remaining production duties on Shahs of Sunset. RSP will be unable to continue working with the editors that were previously engaged on this production.”
Rob Callahan, national organizer, Motion Picture Editors Guild blasted back, saying, “The right to organize, including the right to strike, is enshrined in federal law. It is an egregious violation of the law for any employer to discharge or otherwise retaliate against employees for exercising their right to organize. The Editors Guild and IATSE will aggressively defend the rights of our membership against all such violations.”
In early September, an “overwhelming” majority of the show’s employees signed cards authorizing the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) to negotiate on their behalf. The 16 editors and assistant editors have been walking the picket lines since Sept. 10, after receiving no response from their employer.
The Motion Picture Editors Guild has be waging a campaign to unionize unscripted/reality shows. In August, a similar walkout succeeded in winning a contract for employees of CBS‘s long-running hit Survivor.
“Unscripted entertainment entails much more than simply presenting an unfiltered view of a bunch of big personalities. Bringing these stories to the screen requires tremendous craft and effort,” said Motion Picture Editors Guild (IATSE Local 700) president Alan Heim, ACE.