'Fashion Star' crew walks off the job in Hollywood

Crew members from the reality TV series "Fashion Star" walked off the job Saturday morning in a dispute over efforts to secure union representation.

Production of the show was suspended Saturday when about 75 crew members struck and began picketing outside Hollywood Center Studios at 8 a.m.

The strike was led by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which has been waging an ongoing campaign to extend union benefits to crew members who work behind the scenes on reality TV shows.

"It’s a successful network show that continues to refuse industry standards and health and pension benefits to crew members," Mike Miller, head of West Coast for IATSE, said in an interview. "We'll be picketing right here until we can get a strike."

The union held a successful strike against the reality TV series "The Biggest Loser" in 2010 and has since had disputes with producers of several other shows, including TNT's 'The Great Escape' and Spike TV's "1000 Ways to Die."

"Fashion Star," which features Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos as judges, is produced by Ben Silverman's company Electus and Magical Elves Productions, and 5X5 Media.

Representatives of NBC were not immediately available for comment.


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