Saturday, September 22, 2007

Unfair & Cheap! Union targets Harvey & TMZ TV

TMZ TV, the camp and irrelevant broadcast version of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, may not be doing well in the ratings, but it is making a mark in the television industry-- as a union buster!

The series from the megamonolith AOL/Time-Warner has been blacklisted by AFTRA, the union that represents on-air television talent on all legitimate infotainment shows, because Harvey Levin and the other producers won't sign the talent to standard union contracts-- a practice that is highly irregular for a show of TMZ's stature, and undermines the TV industry as a whole:
NO CONTRACT, NO WORK Order in Effect for ‘TMZ’
Effective September 20, 2007, members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are advised that TMZ Productions Inc., Harvey Levin Productions Inc., and paraMedia inc.— producers of the syndicated TV series “TMZ”— are not signed to an AFTRA contract covering this program. AFTRA members may NOT accept employment, including recording in-show and/or promotional announcements, on “TMZ” until and unless a fair contract between AFTRA and the producers is achieved. If you are contacted for employment on “TMZ”, please contact Joan Halpern Weise, Assistant National Executive Director, at 323-634-8174 (jweise@aftra.com) or David Besbris, Los Angeles Local Director of Television, 323-643-8116 (dbesbris@aftra.com). All calls are confidential.
Well, now we know why the TMZ TV show didn't hire any experienced on-air reporters or hosts-- and have an idea why the bigshots moved the TMZ offices way from the corporate headquarters to a space on the Sunset Strip-- not so the show could be closer to the celebutard nightclub scene and West Hollywood gyms, but to keep it off the premises of Extra, the union-abiding parent show.

The seamy TMZ website left its stain by hiring young boys with consumer cameras to do the work of professional cameraman. And on TV, the story has been the same-- the majority of the in-house faces seen on the TV show (at least when when we last watched-- seriously, we blew it off in the first quarter of the second episode) are those very young, pretty-boy twinks. But apparently, even the young cohosts of "main on-air personality" Harvey are not working under an AFTRA contract. It's unheard of in mainstream syndicated big-money corporate television-- and in the case of leftist Hollywood scion Ben Mankiewicz (above), very surprising.

One of our readers reminds us that it's also more than a little hypocritical, after TMZ criticized the singer Beyonce earlier this year:
Dancing for Beyonce Is No Dream, Girl
TMZ has learned that dancers working on Beyonce's latest videos are being low-balled on their salaries in order to make the videos on the cheap.

Sources tell TMZ that the music diva is shooting several music videos in L.A. this week, which we're told she is financing, not her label. Sources also say Beyonce's choreographer, Frank Gatson, has refused to work with any of the dancers' agents on this job.

We're told that by eliminating the middleman and dealing directly with the dancers, Beyonce can pay them below standard wages. Industry contacts say this practice is highly irregular for an artist of Beyonce's stature, and it undermines the dance industry as a whole...
The AFTRA mandate means that all members of AFTRA-- and that means every experienced pro int he business-- are prohibited from working for TMZ, which soon enough will be loking for fresh meat to replace Ben and the other "personalities"-- including Harvey himself.

(Watch for the picketers standing outside nightclubs alongside the TMZ cameraboys...)


fishbowl l.a. said...

AFTRA is going after TMZ TV.

Seems the tabloidy show didn't want to pay union money, which explains the utter nobodies hired to host.

Anonymous said...

It must be the new Hollywood. Sunset Plaza waiter today, TMZ host tomorrow.