‘Survivor’ editors walk off the job in labor dispute


The post-production crew of “Survivor” has halted work on the hit reality TV series because of a labor dispute.

The Motion Picture Editors Guild said Wednesday that about two dozen Santa Monica-based post-production workers “voted themselves off the job” at Mark Burnett’s Island Post Productions Inc., saying no editorial work would resume on the series until the company agrees to a union contract.

At the time of the work stoppage, post-production work was underway on the 90-minute premiere of Season 29 of the long-running CBS series, which has been scheduled to air on Sept. 24, the union said. The series has been filming in Nicaragua.


“This wildly successful program has helped to define the genre of reality television, and editors play a critical role in shaping the show,” Editors Guild President Alan Heim said in a statement posted on the union’s website. “They seek the same health benefits, pensions, and basic protections that their counterparts elsewhere in the industry have long enjoyed. After 28 successful seasons and 16 Emmy nominations, that doesn’t seem too much to ask.”

The action comes a day after the post-production workers notified their employer of their intent to obtain a union contract with health and retirement benefits. The workers are responsible for distilling approximately 250 hours of raw video down to one hour of entertainment.

The Motion Picture Editors Guild is Local 700 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which in recent years has stepped up its efforts to extend union contracts to crew members who work on reality TV programs. The union already has contracts with several other shows produced by Mark Burnett, including “The Voice” and “Shark Tank.”

“Many of these folks have been with ‘Survivor’ since the outset,” said Rob Callahan, national organizer for IATSE Local 700. “They’ve built the empire and they’ve seen their colleagues on other shows start to get health and retirement benefits and they felt it was their turn.”

Representatives of Mark Burnett and CBS were not immediately available for comment.

Twitter: @rverrier