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Biggest Loser Strike Threatens Production Schedule

UPDATE [11/22/10]: IATSE members and the production companies responsible for The Biggest Loser reached an agreement over the weekend, bringing the strike to an end. The production crew will now be able to count their hours on The Biggest Loser toward receiving health insurance, reports The LA Times.

In an effort to unionize, The Biggest Loser crew walked off the set of the NBC reality TV show on Monday of last week, accompanied by members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). Filming of the eleventh season was suspended, but the currently airing season ten will not be affected. According to Nellie Andreeva at Deadline Hollywood, producers were surprised by the strike and were not aware of the crew’s efforts to gain union benefits.

Though representatives from Reveille and 3 Ball Productions, who produce The Biggest Loser, were discussing agreements with IATSE last week, the dispute appears to be escalating. According to the Los Angeles Times, the show’s producers are planning on hiring replacement workers as crew members picket the King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas where The Biggest Loser is filmed.

“These companies, 3Ball and Reveille, who have produced union shows in the past, are willing to fire 50 to 60 people that have worked for them for years,” Vanessa Holtgrewe, director of photography for The Biggest Loser, writes in a widely circulated email. “Biggest Loser is the last big reality show standing that is not a union show,” she continues. “Survivor, The Bachelor, American Idol, Project Runway, Top Model…these are all union shows. We’ve been using union members’ expertise, safety knowledge, and skill sets for many seasons, without paying the union for it. And now the check has come due.”

Representatives at NBC declined to comment on inquires made by DietsInReview, and Reveille did not respond. Similarly, they have not responded to other news sources at this time.

Season ten was filmed over the summer and will be airing at its scheduled time.

November 15th, 2010

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