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48 September 2nd, 2015 REPORT: WGA Takes Issue With Soap Producers For Creating “Particularly Insidious” Problem Making Writers Request Waivers For Less Pay and Work!

Courtesy/CBS

In a report today via Deadline, the entertainment industry news outlet, it has come to light at the WGA (Writers Guild of America) that soap producers, most notably from CBS Daytime’s: The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless appear to be in some form “bullying” their soap scribes, according to the allegations in the item.

The “particularly insidious” problem that’s “cropping up regularly on daytime TV”, according to Deadline’s sources has that the producers of the soaps are asking their writers to request waivers from the WGA to take pay cuts and to take less work.

According to Deadline: “The guild contract requires a soap to give writers one assignment a week. But writers can ask for a waiver to cut back on the workload if they have a legitimate reason, such as illness or a family emergency. Some crafty producers, however, allegedly have been gaming the system by bullying less-favored writers into requesting waivers to reduce their assignments by one or more a month, even though they actually want to continue working full time. Sources say that some writers have been forced to give up a script or two a month so that an actor or a line producer can write a show or so a new writer can be brought in at no extra cost. ”

Courtesy/CBS

They add: “The contract language governing these waivers was meant to protect writers by mandating that the request come from the writer. If it does, the contract requires the guild to grant the waiver, but if the guild determines that it originated from the company, it can refuse. The guild, however, has yet to deny such a waiver requested by a soap writer.”  Dan Wilcox,who raised the issue in his campaign for election to the WGA board of directors, called it an “unfair labor practice.  It’s a way to hire people at below the contracted minimum.”  In his campaign statement, Wilcox noted: “Over the last few years, a couple of the companies have begun using the reduced-load waivers to punish some writers and reward others. The companies tell the writers in disfavor to apply for a ‘half-deal’ waiver or be fired. Given a choice between some income and none, the writers request the waiver.”

As far the actual number of waivers requested by the writers from the different network soaps, they report:  From June 2014 through June 2015, the guild granted 23 such waivers to soap writers – 16 on CBS’ The Bold And The Beautiful, six to writers on the network’s The Young And The Restless, and one to a writer on NBC’s Days Of Our Lives.

What do you think of this situation which allegedly has writers feeling “forced” to get a waiver to continue to work or potentially lose their job?  In the contracted scene of the daytime drama, where only four remain, is it just a sign of the times with budgets so tight an effort to cut corners, the show’s are asking their writers to do so?  Is it complete and unfair business practices to have writers, who have the hardest job in the soaps,  being completely taking advantage of?  Share your thoughts below!

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  1. chuck says:

    It’s more Y&R I think CBS knows Phelps and Pratt are very unpopular with the Fans, I’ll be interested if we don’t see big changes coming soon…

    Reply

    davlestev1 replied

    You got it Chuck..nobody but JFP and CP while they ride the ratings waves off the backs of established scribes they’re firing or threatening with lesser knowns…Y&R WILL implode.

    Reply

    chuck replied

    Exactly!! But CBS knows The fans are disliking Pratt’s Stories, even when he first came on last year he was ruffling the feathers the fans knew him from All my children and Santa Barbara. He has made Y&R for most people Unwatchable, The ratings Have gone down slightly in the past two weeks so I do see changes on the horizon !!

    Lellingw replied

    Really serious and really concerning. Needs to stop and producers who have Ben doing this severely reprimanded.

    Reply

    CeeCee replied

    I can only speak for myself….I find Pratt’s writing stale and unimaginative. Stories get recycled to the point of exasperation…pulling my hair out. So, it is very possible that the “writers are forced to get waivers to continue to work”….. The writing always suffers and falls short of delivering sharp, concise story lines.
    Who, among us, did not suspect Neil in Hilary’s disappearance? C’mon …..really? It would have been so much more compelling to have all clues point to Neil and then the baddie be someone else. The cards were displayed too soon.

    Reply

    chuck replied

    Exactly!! The same thing happened with the killer reveal everyone knew way ahead who it was even before it was brought to light, Pratt is writing himself into a huge hole and he can’t get out of it.

    Harry replied

    CeeCee, do you also find the writing misogynistic under Pratt? I do.
    The whole situation with Marco and Phyllis was insidious and since she had sex with this man thinking he was someone else, that falls under the legal terminology of what constitutes rape. Then we are supposed to believe that feisty Phyllis is just going to let it all go for the sake of peace? And what Neil, who has always been the pillar of the community and the very personification of integrity, is holding Hillary hostage after doing God only knows what (there was blood found on the sight where she disappeared).
    And on another note, I find the fact that Sharon is keeping her miscarriage a secret and is clearly going to steal Sage’s baby to be mind numbingly dull and boring. The ruination of Sharon continues.

    CeeCee replied

    @Harry.
    Yes, Harry…we do agree. It has been, not only my contention , but also Timmm’s, if you remember, that there is no way a woman does not know her man’s body, inside-out, and vice versa. We had this very discussion for days….back and forth. Of course, it’s a soap….but, we are intelligent beings….Homo Sapiens….Sapiens, being the key word here.
    As far as Phyllis not sticking out her chin and giving it the old one-two ( feisty, as you so aptly describe the real Phyllis) , is because Gina Tognoni is not Phyllis. I have said this since her first appearance on stage as the nuPhyllis. I love Gina, but there is no fire in her eyes. The real Phyllis would not demurely sit, hands folded in her lap and accept whatever crumb is hurled at her; come what may. She is written into a corner, yes, but Gina would still not have brought it home the way Michelle always, and unfailingly did/has.
    I never liked Neil….so, I await his downfall. ‘Tis quite ironic how two of his wives both came tumbling down their own respective cliffs, like the walls of Jericho. What are the odds?

    Poor Sharon….this character is a lost cause. She is living in her own little world all over again. How fallacious, these writers are. They should know better. It is chancy enough for a young woman to get pregnant the first time around ( it does happen often enough) , but a woman in her mid-forties does not ‘drop’ that many eggs any more….LOL……making the chance of conceiving almost nil. Not without some medical intervention. I am not saying it is not possible, because it is, of course. But the older we are, the chances get slimmer and slimmer. I don’t need to tell you that. You know better than I.
    Yes, I will accept all the drama thrown at me….even a little ignorance, but, please, PTB, give the viewer a storyline that makes a little sense. I think, Harry, that the writers to not write for us, the fans, but to indulge their own ego…it’s almost as if they experiment to see which storyline is the most outrageous. I apologize for the tirade, Harry. Later.

  2. clh says:

    Soooo not surprised at this from CBS and Y&R in particular. Lots of bullies in that soap, in front of and behind the camera.

    Reply

    diane replied

    All I know is it is getting to be unwatchable. I ff through 90% of the show.

    Reply

    4ever DAYS replied

    I’m very happy with DAYS!

  3. 4ever DAYS says:

    It shows how crooked the CBS soaps are!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi 4ever DAYS-
    How do you think CBS/Y&R has had the highest rating for two decades/25? years and never once having another soap above them, not once (there used to be many great soaps)
    the odds of that happening would be 0 .. lol
    In big business there is always a way ;)

    Reply

    4ever DAYS replied

    You’re on to something, su0000!

    Didn’t CBS/Y&R/Nielsen Ratings Co. team up, create and release a survey/questionnaire regarding Y&R?

    Shouldn’t such things be considered a conflict of interest? Who is in who’s pocket?

    CeeCee replied

    Yeah, and it’s all Victor’s fault. LOL.

    Reply

    Timmm replied

    “The Newman Ratings!”

  4. Mo says:

    How many did Brad Bell ask himself to get? ;-)

    Not nice if this is true.

    Reply

  5. su0000 says:

    ok-
    ( who are the ”crafty producers” ? /names

    also;
    ”WGA board of directors, called it an “unfair labor practice. It’s a way to hire people at below the contracted minimum.””
    —- that ^^^ is big business at work. It is all about the money.

    Soap are a financial burden on daytime tv.
    All can bitch about it/the contract but nothing will change until new contracts are negotiated.
    A contract as written is the way it is.

    Perhaps there will be another writer strike.
    I doubt saying= we don’t like the contract will change anything.

    ””’ “The contract language governing these waivers was meant to protect writers by mandating that the request come from the writer. If it does, the contract requires the guild to grant the waiver, but if the guild determines that it originated from the company, it can refuse.””’

    Reply

    Chrystie Delancey replied

    Writers’ strike or not, it will never change.

    I used to work in the legal department for one of these large movie studios (who also did television, hint, hint). Their contracts are all written to get as many rights from the artists yet THEY never share their intellectual property rights. It is pretty one-sided.

    Reply

    Chrystie Delancey replied

    Oh and they would rather presume they have the rights and risk settling out of court than confirm they have the rights.

  6. jeremy says:

    “Bias and racial discrimination.” Just like what Victoria Rowell said about CBS soaps

    Reply

    Lellingw replied

    Interesting. This might have raised her case a little bit more. Racial discrimination is difficult to prove but if the network is involved in other nefarious activity, their believability goes way down.

    Reply

    CeeCee replied

    Interesting, indeed…opens a can of worms; such as the Michael Muhney ‘story’.
    There were so many versions circling around…how he made some kind of remark about Hunter King’s physical endowments? Hmmmm. In the midst of it all, Eric Braeden’s name slithered in there. Double Hmmmm.

  7. Rapids says:

    I’ve never been in a union but where I live it is employment at will. No one is guaranteed a job or a certain number of hours.
    There are just a handful of soaps left. It appears TPTB is telling writers to take it or leave it. The writers will probably take whatever work is left. The soap industry is in sad shape.

    Reply

    Lellingw replied

    People don’t work well when they are afraid for their jobs and what a way to play people off of each other. And then have actors or others write the scripts. Hmm. GH execs and the producer are claiming they are tweaking the writers’ scripts. I wonder to what extent they are allowed to write?

    Reply

  8. Nikki says:

    Why the picture of Ridge from B & B instead of the cast? Bullies in Y & R I can’t help but wonder if the actor who plays Victor Newman had a hand in this somehow?

    Reply

    CeeCee replied

    Hey, Nikki. You beat me to it, if you read my post above. I posted before I read yours. Well, I know neither of us is a fan of Eric/Victor. I said it jokingly, but if you say it (and I trust your opinion), it must be true, yes?

    Reply

    Nikki replied

    Ahhhhhhh CeeCee I just read yours. He is a bully. I love Adam/Chelsea and Kevin/Mariah along with a few others but I cut myself down now to watching it Wednesday’s & Friday’s because I honestly can’t stand or stomach that Victor Newman or Summer. That man should have been put in jail a long time ago and I know they try to keep the soap’s with the latest trends but he’s just too much to deal with. I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t renew his contract and have it end where he finally goes to jail for life but that was wishful thinking. As for Summer how she goes for more low budget movies and tries to act.

    Harry replied

    Do you think that the Abbot who is behind that Pyramid Project (or whatever it’s called) which was orchestrated to bring Victor to his knees is really John Abbott?

    CeeCee replied

    @Harry.
    I think no one is really keen on the Paragon Project. I certainly am not sure of what it is, really. But, John Abbot would never orchestrate something so devious. John did not work that way. Unless, his apparition tells Jack what to do. So, the, it would all be in Jack’s head. A figment of his crazy imagination. Perhaps, Jack has been off his rocker all along? LOL.
    It is such a stupid terminology. If not Jack, then, logically, aside from Victor, the only schemer who comes to mind is Colin working with Marco. Let’s stretch it even further, Harry…..How about Neil? Considering he has joined the dark side, there could be a conspiracy of baddies. Who is the mastermind? At this point, it could be anybody. Maybe it’s Nikki Newman. Oh, God !! I invoke and implore you….get her out of her misery, please !!

  9. Rose says:

    With the positive ratings and awards CBS has had with B&B and Y&R seems short sighted to mess with the writing. I realize it’s a business and you have to watch overhead, but they should renegotiate financial and scheduling issues with the union. Not look for small print/loopholes in the contract, and nickel/dime the writers. And thank you CBS for keeping your soaps on the air.

    Reply

    Lellingw replied

    The execs must be under severe pressure to keep costs down and writers are often invisible to most. Until the quality of the writing finally tanks.

    Reply

  10. su0000 says:

    hi Nikki,
    EB probably holds stock in Y&R,,, LOL
    He is very powerful as to what he wants.
    ALL know there is no Y&R without Victor, without Victor the Newman family would fall.
    Most all the stories revolve around Victor.

    Yes, actors/characters are replaceable but not EB/Victor and CBS knows that fact.

    Reply

    Nikki replied

    Unfortunately so does he. At his age you would think he would step down & let the younger one’s have a chance. Where I come from they retire at 65. I loved Kay Chancellor & their was a time everything revolved around her, unfortunately she passed away and the show went on. Victor needs to go to jail for all the crimes he’s committed and the soap would save a ton of money by letting the bully go.

    Reply

    Harry replied

    Nikki, I totally understand what you’re saying and agree with your sentiment.
    However, I love Victor’s ominous forceful presence on the show.
    Moreover, when he gets mad and starts railing against someone, I just have to laugh.
    Can you imagine him ordering coffee at Starbucks?
    ‘NOW LISTEN, AND LISTEN GOOD PUNK, CAUSE I DO NOT WANT TO SAY THIS AGAIN. I WILL TAKE A CAPPUCCINO, HALF CAF, HALF DECAF WITH ENOUGH FROTH TO MAKE IT AESTHETICALLY PLEASING BUT NOT TOO MUCH AS TO GIVE ME ANOTHER MUSTACHE? GOT THAT?

    Nikki replied

    Harry OMG You made me laugh out loud. Yes I’m sure his presents is known wherever he goes. I think he figures he is Victor Newman. As I said I only watch Wed.& Fri. now but wouldn’t you know it yesterday Wed. he was on. When he walked over to Gab/Adam and called him a name I wanted so badly to be Adam for just one minute. Long enough to push him against his desk and knock a few teeth out. I have a whole new respect for Adam (who just walked away). In real life he’s no better. Someone asked him if he was leaving Y&R and he said “No they extended my contract,so don’t ask me that again”. Can you imagine who does he think he is?

  11. Fran says:

    The actors have / and have to take pay cuts why not the writers ect

    Reply

    Lellingw replied

    This isn’t negotiated in their contracts, this is wage theft. Actors got a pretty good raise on SBC this year. Not sure about CBS.

    Reply

    Michael (not Fairman) replied

    Why are you assuming that they have not, already? I have not seen much about it, one way or the other, but it stands to reason that as the big stars were asked to take pay cuts, the writing staff (and the production staff) probably were too.

    Reply

  12. Donna Miller says:

    be glad they got a job. If they are really good , someone else will hire them.
    Most actors on all soaps have been pushed to recurring, taken a pay cut or like RM just quit. This is true for all shows, not sure why writers shoud be different.
    True in all industries. everyone I know unless working for government or own businees got pushed aside or told to cut back for cheaper people at age 55.
    BTW supreme court has been asked to consider these actions, but neve do. guess that is what happens when you have a job for life.

    Reply

  13. Barbara from Atlanta says:

    I don’t know the inner workings of a soap or the financial demands.

    However, as a viewer, I know the plots are UNWATCHABLE. Particularly with Y&R, it doesn’t look like the writers put much time and thought into the plots they create. Everything seems just thrown together. Often, there are glaring problems with the plots that make no sense (even by a more liberal standard that I typically apply to soaps).

    As for Y&R, this is not a recent development under the current writers. It has been this way for over 5 years. The recent writers are guilty of giving us shoddily crafted plots and their predecessors are as well.

    I’m beginning to wonder if the very poor quality of the writing that is appearing frequently on these shows in the past decade is a result of financial issues. The shows are paying less to the writers with more oversight by the network (see the frequent comments from that CBS executive Angelica about the minute details of the show). This may cause the writers with any real talent to seek work elsewhere and get away from these shows.

    There is NO explanation as to why Jean Passanante (with a resume filled with shows cancelled under her writing watch and firings) continues to snap up new writing jobs the way that she does other than she must work for a bargain salary. The writers willing to take much reduced salaries go from show to show, with no concern that these writers simply lack the talent for this work.

    I guess you pay for what you get. Considering what we’re getting, the pay must be darn low.

    Reply

    4ever DAYS replied

    The pay must be high for DAYS’ writers because the show is ON FIRE!!!!!

    Reply

  14. Mary SF says:

    So basically what they are doing would be like an employer strong arming a full time employee who is making 20 dollars an hour to take an unpaid vacation for a month, and while they are gone they hire a temp worker at 10 dollars an hour to fill in for them. Well isn’t that charming. Unions have their bad points, but if producers are doing this kind of stuff with a loophole in the contract, imagine what BS they would pull without a union in place.

    Reply

  15. Rapids says:

    Soap actors have taken huge cuts in salary. Otherwise they would be out of a job.

    Reply

    Michael (not Fairman) replied

    I have not seen much about it, but my bet is that the writers have too (in addition to this latest shenanigan).

    Reply

  16. april says:

    I’d rather y & r die gracefully then continue with this schlock. I just watched a bunch of old y and r episodes on youtube. Now that was writing – Bell and Alden!

    Reply

    Barbara from Atlanta replied

    After 35 years plus of watching Y&R faithfully, I can’t believe that I’d ever say this but…………………………………

    I totally agree with you!!! The show is terrible and, sadly, has been this way for a decade. I have continued to watch through this past decade, always having a momentary hope that things would improve with the constant shifts of writers and producers. “Maybe the new ones will get it??” Alas, each time, I’ve been disappointed. The problems may have been different with each new group of writers but the end result is always the same: a disappointment.

    It has been NINE years since I found one of the plots well-written and interesting: The 2006 death of John Abbott with Gloria arguing to keep John on life support and Jack fighting to give his father a dignified death. The scenes between Gloria and Jack during that time and the aftermath of John’s death were fantastic. Gloria was not totally wrong or right. Jack was not totally wrong or right. Sadly, I haven’t seen anything to brag about since then. NINE years is a LONG time to keep watching a show out of shear loyalty and constantly being disappointed in the writing.

    I vividly remember how horrible Guilding Light became in its final years: The “realistic” episodes that appeared to have been filmed in trailers and motel rooms in New Jersey by high school kids using handheld cameras. Did anyone think viewers wanted to watch Reva talking about her problems while she folded clothes sitting on a sofa in a cheaply panelled room??

    There was a HUGE lesson in what happened to Guiding Light — No show, its cast, crew, or viewers should have to suffer through that. Much like John Abbott on life support, there comes a time when it is best just to put things out of their misery than continue to keep them on the air.

    Over the past decade, Y&R has ever so slowly moved to that place in my mind. I’m very close to saying, “Just cancel the damn thing! If you can’t give us a better show than this, take it off the air.!!”

    Yes, the show could be saved — Alden is still working. What about Jack Smith? What about Sally Sussman? Where are Meg Bennett and James Hougton?? All of these folks worked for years on Y&R, particularly under Bill Bell, and would have some idea what to do. Heck, I’m not a fan of Lauralee Bell as an actress but I might be interested in seeing what she could do behind the camera!! The constant underlying these folks —- They KNOW this show. They’ve worked on it. Which is more than I can say about the crew over the past 3-4 years. (Yes, I know about Maria Arena Bell. Yes, I think she was terrible as well. However, my major beef with her was that she didn’t appear to devote enough time to Y&R but, instead, may have focused on other activities like art collecting. I want someone who knows the show and, unlike Maria, is willing to seriously work at it to make it great again).

    I’m starting to feel exactly about Y&R like I did about ATWT when it went off the air: Loved the show for decades but seriously disappointed in it for the past decade. I sure hated to see ATWT leave the air but, on the other hand, the ATWT that was cancelled was not “my” ATWT but a poor imitation. “My” ATWT disappeared years before the actual cancelling. Sadly, “my” Y&R seems to have vanished a decade ago.

    Reply

  17. Gmbenet says:

    I stumbled across the article on Deadline the other day. It caught my eye so I read the full article. Sounds like Y&R and B&B both have problems that no one (fans) knew about. I think this is a cause for concern by fans. It reminds me of a house or building that looks beautiful on the outside but has internal structural damage that could cause the house or building to collapse unexpectedly at any moment.

    Imagine what it would be like if all of a sudden Y&R and B&B were off the air with no warning! That would be heartbreaking for the fans of those shows as well as the people who work there. I think those two shows are in serious danger! And then there were two…. GH and Days! It could happen!

    Reply

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