Writers at ITV America and ABC’s The Chase laid down their pens today (March 24) after negotiations between the companies and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) reached an impasse.
WGA East and West have informed their members that Working Rule 8 is now in effect at The Chase and that no Guild member is permitted to write on the program.
Last week, writers and the WGAE demanded that the show be covered by its Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), which it said guarantees writers provisions such as health and pension benefits and residuals.
The Guild stated writers informed ITV America on Monday (March 22) that a strike would begin this morning if the producer did not agree to its terms.
A statement provided to Realscreen from ITV Entertainment reads: “After the WGAE approached ITV one week ago, we began good faith negotiations and proposed a package for the writers that includes generous, over scale pay increases and health benefits through the WGA. Despite that proposal, the WGAE is refusing to make a deal and insisting on terms that would economically cripple the show. We remain open to continuing discussions with the guild. ITV offers top-tier health benefits to all employees, whether union or non-union.”
Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGAE, said in a statement: “We have alerted Writers Guild members that ITV America is refusing to honor the choice of writers at The Chase to be represented by the union and to receive pension and health benefits, residuals, and the other basic provisions of our industry wide MBA. Guild members will stand united in not crossing the picket line at The Chase.”
In November, ITV Entertainment, a division of ITV America, announced it had secured a series pickup from ABC for The Chase, based on the popular British format created by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
The strike is the latest example of tensions between the WGA and ITV in the U.S. that have simmered over the last several years.
In 2015, WGAE representatives and other unions congregated outside the Realscreen Summit to protest ITV Studios and urge the company to reach a collective bargaining agreement covering its non-fiction producers and writers.
WGA East and West represent writers at shows such as Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Weakest Link.