Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Is Reality TV Union Work
It can be union, it depends on the reality show. Some reality TV shows are covered under an AFTRA contract, some are not. Geography of the shoot is not really a factor, the contract the producers have signed or offer is. When a reality show is AFTRA, it is covered under the TV contract they just negotiated, that doesn't keep up with inflation.
For example, "Survivor" is an AFTRA show, as is "American Idol" though I don't think contestants are covered by an AFTRA contract unless and until they advance to something beyond the initial auditions. Many of the cable reality shows are not covered under AFTRA. It is not clear if a union actor appearing as themselves on a show that purports to be unscripted is crossing the union line by "working" on a non-union reality show. Please share your take in a comment.
I have heard a rumor that "According to a recent Sag-Aftra meeting in Boston it was determined that a union actor playing themselves in a reality series is NOT a violation of Rule 1" and therefore not prohibited.
comments: I always go ahead and ASK my union if I can do a show that clearly does not offer me a SAG or AFTRA contract. The money's usually awful regardless. Got a whopping $200 for Onion News Network principal role for their cable TV show...but...was happy to do it. Tom RoyPost a Comment