EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, 10:03 PM: It’s not a tribal council but it is a move towards a vote. After less than 12 hours, the strike by Survivor editors and other postproduction staff is over. Mark Burnett’s Island Post Productions has agreed to union recognition for the two dozen or so postproduction staff who walked off the job today. Talks with the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700 are now set for August 15. In the meantime, I’ve learned that the picket line that went up today has been suspended and the Guild has instructed crew members to report for work at the company’s Santa Monica HQ tomorrow. Which means, work will resume on the premiere episode for Season 29 of the veteran reality show, which is scheduled to debut with a 90-minute episode on September 24 – a date that I’m told will not suffer being met despite today’s walkout.
PREVIOUS, 11: 42 AM: A day after the Motion Picture Editors Guild notified the producers of Survivor that its editors wanted a union contract, the postproduction crew has walked off the veteran reality show. “The post crew of CBS’ #Survivor has walked off the job, halting post for an IATSE contract,” the guild tweeted late this morning. Picketing lines have been set up outside the Santa Monica HQ of Island Post Productions. Today’s labor action is in response to the IATSE Local 700 hearing nothing back from Mark Burnett’s Island Post Productions on Tuesday’s request for immediate negotiations. “People stayed on the job yesterday out of respect for the long relationship with the show, but respect has to go both ways,” a source told me today. Burnett’s company did not respond to Deadline when contacted about the one-page letter Tuesday from Editors Guild National Executive Director Ron Kutak. The Survivor employees’ primary goal is getting an agreement that includes industry-standard health insurance and pension benefits like what fellow Burnett unscripted series Shark Tank and NBC’s The Voice have on their IATSE contracted shows.
No word on how long the guild plans to keep the roughly two dozen non-unionized Survivor editors and assistants off the job, but time is of the essence for Burnett and the CBS show. The 29th cycle of Survivor is set to debut September 24 with an extended 90-minute episode. As I reported exclusively yesterday, that premiere episode isn’t finished, and a delay of more than a few days could make meeting that date a near impossibility. With that pushed back, and the rest of the season likely to follow, CBS would have to scramble to shift its schedule around. A network insider said CBS is monitoring the situation closely.