CW Network Faces Rocky Launch Amid ‘Top Model’ Labor Dispute

CW Network Faces Rocky Launch Amid 'Top Model' Labor Dispute 1An escalating labor dispute on the top-rated reality show “America’s Next Top Model” is threatening to cast a shadow over the high-profile launch of the new CW television network next month.

Twelve writer-producers for the series walked off the job on July 21 to protest salaries and the lack of medical benefits on the show, which is produced by Anisa Productions Inc. of West Los Angeles. The writers have remained on strike and are demanding they and other reality-show writers be represented by the Writers Guild of America.

Yesterday, 10 past Writers Guild presidents and incoming president Patrick Verrone joined the picket. The Writers Guild is urging fans of the show — broadcast since 2003 on the now-defunct UPN network — to join a rally scheduled for tomorrow that will feature former contestants. The CW is jointly owned by CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.

Anisa Productions President Ken Mok said in a statement: “We respect their legal rights to pursue a path that they feel best serves them.” He said the Writers Guild should follow union-organizing rules established under the National Labor Relations Act that call for a secret polling of workers. The guild says that approach would take too long.