Musicians Slam TV Networks: AFM Protests Leno, Letterman, Kimmel And Other Shows

The union’s complaint is that its performers in 7 years haven’t been given a pay raise or healthcare increases on these live-audience network shows. So the AFM is protesting outside The Tonight Show, Dancing With The Stars, Today, Good Morning America, The Late Show With David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. As audiences lined up for the shows, musicians affiliated with AFM Local 47 (LA) and AFM Local 802 (NYC) handed out leaflets that read “Give musicians fair pay for fair play”. Other affected shows are American Idol, SNL, the Oscars, The X Factor, Last Call With Carson Daly, The Voice, and awards shows like Emmys, Golden Globes, Tonys, Academy of Country Music, and People’s Choice. According to AFM, the musicians on these shows last received a pay raise in 2005 when CBS, NBC, and ABC last approved a new contract. Negotiations on a new contract began in late September but the networks are demanding major concessions before wage hikes are even discussed. AFM president Ray Hair points out that compared to singer Mariah Carey’s $18 million fee to judge American Idol this season, the cost for hiring all musicians for all shows, all season, would cost only about half of that amount. “Instead of appreciation for what we do, we were met with demands for unjustified concessions that have angered the musicians,” Hair said. “Actors and stagehands get raises every year, but musicians are left out in the cold.” Talks resume next week.

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