A number of big U.S. TV networks as well as the producers of reality shows like "The Bachelor" will have to pay over $4 million to settle two-class action lawsuits alleging violations of California wage rules.
A $2.57 million settlement was reached with Fox Broadcasting and Rocket Science Laboratories, and a $1.54 miillion settlement with ABC, CBS Broadcasting and half a dozen other defendants. Some of the 400 workers involved in the 3-year-old cases will gain tens of thousands of dollars, said a lawyer for the plaintiffs on Wednesday. Filed in 2005, the actions stated that the networks and production companies underpaid story department employees on programs like "Trading Spouses" and "Renovate My Family," thereby violating wage and hours laws.
Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America has been at work trying to get a labor contracts for creative workers involved with reality TV as a whole. At the time of the filing, WGA’s minimum rate for a writer on a 13-week primetime series was $3,477, but one of the producers involved in the suit was receiving gross weekly pay of $1,800 for an 84-hour work week.