Oh, Lord, how I love American Idol season. The drama behind the scenes is always better than the on-camera dramz!
Up now: A group of former employees of Fremantle Media, which produces the show, have filed a class action suit against Fremantle, alleging that the company systematically overworked employees without paying the required overtime, falsified time cards and denied staffers meals and rest periods.
“There’s no Hollywood glamour for the below-the-line people who work on ‘American Idol’ and other reality shows who are grossly underpaid, worked 24/7 and receive no rest or meal breaks and no health coverage — contrary to California labor laws,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney Jonathan Biddle.
The complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court strongly resembles a class-action suit against reality companies and broadcasters that recently was settled for $4 million. The earlier suit was launched in conjunction with the Writers Guild of America, which has been going after reality production companies and networks in an attempt to organize the writers who shape the story lines of reality shows.
“For each reality television series subject to this suit, defendants hired plaintiffs based on a flat weekly or daily pay rate,” the suit reads. “Plaintiffs were required to falsify their time cards … worked in excess of 40 hours per week during virtually every week of their employment, but they never received any premium overtime play … plaintiffs were routinely denied appropriate meal and rest periods as required.”
You go get ’em, kids! If anyone has cash in this economy, it’s the Idol producers!