Exactly two weeks after crew members on NBC’s Biggest Loser walked off the set, starting an IATSE-led strike against the producers of the veteran reality series, Reveille Prods., 3 Ball Prods. and 25/7 Prods, the union and the production companies announced they have reached a tentative agreement, putting an end to the strike that crippled production on Biggest Loser for the past 2 weeks. At stake were crew members’ health benefits as the Biggest Loser producers don’t offer any and, as a non-union show, working on it didn’t count toward the IA days crew members need to accumulate in order to get benefits through the union. The production companies, which have deals with DGA and AFTRA, had resisted going union with IATSE because of the steep price tag involved, between a half million dollars and $2 million, depending on who you talk to, noting that they paid the crew wages substantially higher than the the union minimum to make up for the lack of benefits. But sources close to the crew had countered that much smaller cable reality series work under IA deals, so Biggest Loser should be able to afford the switch. The strike drew growing support from outside and within the show. It was endorsed by the LA County AFL-CIO on Tuesday and then by the state’s California Federation of Labor on Thursday. The show’s talent, trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper and host Alison Sweeney, participated in an auction to raise money for the striking crew. Michaels and Harper also didn’t show up for filming on Monday as they didn’t want to cross the picket line despite having a “no strike” clause in their AFTRA contracts and and did cross it on Thursday after getting assurances that the producers and IATSE were negotiating a deal. Here is the two side’s official announcement.
Los Angeles – Both the IATSE and the producers of “The Biggest Loser” are pleased to announce that a tentative agreement has been reached ending a week-long strike by the IA against the Reveille program
Production on the hit NBC show shut down temporarily Monday, Nov. 8, after members of the production crew voted to support the IA. Intensive talks took place during the week and over the weekend and the new agreement was ratified by the crew in a meeting this morning. As previously reported, AFTRA and DGA already have agreements with the production.
Crew and members of other IA locals have been picketing at the Calabasas location of the show since Tuesday, although production continued during the picketing.
Mike Miller, Vice President of the IA and Director of its Motion Picture and Television Division said, “This agreement is a positive step forward for the crew of ‘The Biggest Loser,’ especially in the area of health benefits. We are pleased to see them go back to work.” Lee Rierson, Managing Director and Head of Business and Operations for Reveille said, “We have reached a fair agreement with the IA while managing to avoid significant disruption to the production, and are happy to see our entire crew working together again.”