“Per Working Rule 8, no Writers Guild member shall accept employment on The Chase, effective immediately,” the guild wrote in a letter to members. “ITV America has refused to apply the full terms of the Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) to all seasons of The Chase going forward – and writers on The Chase, and the Guild at large, refuse to accept an agreement that would undermine writers of future seasons.”
ABC’s The Chase, a remake of British game show, features the stars of Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Hosted by Sara Haines, it recently aired its initial order of nine episodes. It has not been renewed for a second season though there may be additional produced episodes from Season 1.
Last week, the WGA East and writers on The Chase demanded that the show be covered by the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement. The guild said it “negotiated in good faith about some terms of addressing specific concerns raised by ITV in connection with the current season.”
According to WGAE, ITV told the guild on Monday that it did not agree to apply the MBA to The Chase, and “the writers informed the company they would begin striking this morning if the company did not change its position.”
The WGA insists that its contract must cover all seasons of the show. “Accepting anything less would undermine the writers of future seasons; the guilds’ jurisdiction over quiz, and audience participation and game shows; and all guild members.”
“After the WGAE approached ITV one week ago, we began good faith negotiations and proposed a package for the writers that includes generous, over scale pay increases and health benefits through the WGA,” ITV Entertainment said in a statement. “Despite that proposal, the WGAE is refusing to make a deal and insisting on terms that would economically cripple the show. We remain open to continuing discussions with the guild. ITV offers top-tier health benefits to all employees, whether union or non-union.”
The WGA represents writers on other quiz and participation shows, including Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Weakest Link and Jeopardy!
The show sees contestants competing against a professional quizzer, known as the Chaser, whose aim is to prevent the contestants from winning a cash prize. Holzhauer, Jennings and Rutter will take turns as the Chaser. The contestants must answer general-knowledge questions in a series of cash-builder and head-to-head rounds before trying to win a cash prize in the final chase. It is produced by ITV America’s ITV Entertainment.
David Robb contributed to this report.
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