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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:22 AM
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Top Model scribes choose picket line over catwalk

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Reality Strikes

Top Model scribes choose picket line over catwalk
Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 6:00 pm
Goth memoirist (Cottonmouth Kisses), fashion maven and former club kid Clint Catalyst is featuring a black flattop, sideburns and a red T-shirt emblazoned with the Writers Guild of America logo.

Hello, thanks for coming, he calls out to a reporter on a broiling day last week.

Its probably one of the few times Catalyst doesnt mind wearing what everyone else has on, as he and about 25 other redT-shirted protesters are picketing the West L.A. offices of Americas Next Top Model, hoping to gain union recognition for the shows writers.

Model is the hit program in which a group of young women live together while competing for a modeling contract to be awarded by a panel of judges headed by Tyra Banks, the shows creator. Like every other reality-TV show, Model credits no writers; instead, viewers may glimpse the names of 12 associate or assistant producers who are actually the shows writing team.

One problem for the new CW Network is that if these producers were listed as writers, they would be eligible for membership in the Writers Guild of America and the salary levels and benefits that would come with union membership.

A second problem for the network came July 21, when the 12 writers went on strike and began picketing Models production company on Sepulveda Boulevard. This being Hollywood (or almost-Hollywood-adjacent), the WGA provided a double-wide dressing-room trailer with bathrooms and air conditioning for the strikers to retreat to during the recent heat wave.

By noon, Catalyst and three other young writers from the show are already feeling the heats wilting punch. Even so, they are eager to talk about the strike much more eager, anyway, than executive producer Ken Mok, who was out of town and didnt return calls, or the spokesperson for CW Network entertainment division president Dawn Ostroff, who said flatly, There will be no comment.

As they cool off inside the cramped double-wide from their daylong vigil carrying signs (Reality Needs a Rewrite, Tyra Is Beautiful, Union-Busting Is Ugly), Catalyst and fellow writers Kai Bowe, Michele Mills and Sara Sluke are quick to express their devotion to the show and its creators, saying they were counting on Tyra Banks sympathy.

Shes a member of SAG and AFTRA, so we know shes a union girl, said Bowe.

But they are just as quick to dispel any notions that they are living the Hollywood high life.

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