The writers of MTV’s unscripted series “Ridiculousness” have filed with the National Labor Relations Board to vote on unionization via a secret ballot, a rep from NLRB told TheWrap on Thursday.
The MTV staple, which also has a number of spinoffs and foreign versions that air around the world, is hosted and produced by Rob Dyrdek, whose Superjacket Productions recently rebranded as Thrill One Media.
“‘Unscripted’ television is very much scripted and our writing staff is fed up with being abused and underpaid by Paramount, MTV and Rob Dyrdek,” writer Ally Maynard told Deadline, which first reported the story. “We produce the most profitable show currently on TV and yet we are paid 60% less than WGA writers that work for ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos.'”
A rep for Paramount took issue with Maynard’s statement, telling TheWrap that none of the writers on “Ridiculous” are directly employed by the studio or MTV. The paperwork was filed on behalf of 11 employees of Purple Shark, LLC, a subsidiary of Superjacket Productions, according to the paperwork on the NLRB site.
The move comes as the WGA strike is poised to enter its fourth month. It also dovetails with a larger effort in unscripted TV toward unionization. In July, reality star Bethenny Frankel push to join SAG-AFTRA and production crews have walked off set to to protest the fact that they’re not part of IATSE.
While it’s still rare, some unscripted writers have already joined the Writers Guild of America, East, including those at Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and Sharp Entertainment, who produce TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé.” Writer-producers at BSTV, who are behind two Food Network series, unionized in March.
The filing process for the “Ridiculousness” writers began in July, with notice of the election going out on Aug. 4. Ballots will be counted at the Region 31 Office in Los Angeles on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Both full-time and regular part-time “creative consultants” are eligible to vote.
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