EXCLUSIVE: One week after the postproduction crew of Bravo’s Shahs Of Sunset went on strike, picket lines remain up at the offices of Ryan Seacrest Productions in LA. But no one is talking. This comes after Ryan Seacrest Prods declared on September 7 that it has “every intention of engaging in a discussion as soon as possible” with the Motion Picture Editors Guild regarding a union contract for the more than a dozen post crew members. But sources tell me today the delay in those discussions are not coming from the American Idol host’s production company, but from further up the food chain.
“NBCU and Bravo are calling the shots and they have a much broader agenda than this show,” one insider says. Said another source about why there are no talks scheduled with IATSE Local 700: “The reality is NBCUniversal has made a tactical decision to push back against the unionization of unscripted shows. How far and long they are willing to go is uncertain right now.”
Today, as the nearly two dozen picketing employees outside the Miracle Mile offices of RSP erected a Scabby The Rat to shame Seacreast, it is clear that NBCU and Bravo are willing to roll the dice on Shahs in the face of labor action, which seeks health and pension benefits for its workers. In stark contrast to the quick deal Mark Burnett’s Survivor reached with the guild after a similar strike last month, Bravo and NBCU decided last week to push back the Season 4 debut of Shahs to take any hard deadline off the table. “The new airdate has yet to be determined,” Bravo added.
Not that the delay has diminished the IATSE Local in its determination for negotiations and a deal. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re thinking about SHAHctober, SHAHvember, SHAHcember, or SHAHuary, “ the Editor’s Guild’s Rob Callahan said. “Until there’s a contract, there will be no Shahs.”