the staff of thee Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, in addition to the labor movements within Hollywood’s CGI-dominated realms, another significant movement is brewing among reality TV stars. Spearheaded by figures far removed from the CGI-created worlds, such as former Real Housewives of New York cast member Bethenny Frankel, a public campaign for the unionization of reality TV stars gained momentum last summer. Frankel highlighted issues of mistreatment and poor working conditions within the industry, sparking conversations about the need for change.
Jeremy Hartwell, a contestant on the Netflix reality show Love is Blind, took legal action against the streaming giant last year, citing “inhumane working conditions.” Subsequently, he co-founded the Unscripted Cast Advocacy Network, aiming to provide mental and legal support to current, former, and future reality TV stars. These developments may indicate a broader labor push within the industry.
Interestingly, reality TV crews remain non-unionized, which serves a strategic purpose for Hollywood. Back in 2001, during a writers’ union threat to strike, Hollywood found itself equipped with a powerful asset: the rising popularity of non-scripted, non-union reality shows flooding the airwaves. Survivor, in particular, demonstrated that audiences were eager consumers of unscripted content, thus diluting the impact of potential strikes on scripted programming. Now, two decades later, Hollywood faces the challenge of adapting to a shifting landscape and potentially revisiting its approach to labor relations within the reality TV sector.
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