Thursday, August 20, 2009

Give Chico a Chico timecard, says Equity

Good luck with that, then, Equity: The actors union is trying to get ITV to pay the X Factor contestants:

The union is to table a motion at next month's TUC conference calling on TV companies to pay talent show contestants.

The motion will read: ''The contestants in such programmes are often compelled to enter into restrictive contracts and because of a loophole in the National Minimum Wage Act for competitions they generally do not get paid.

''These programmes may be very popular with the public but are based on exploitation and humiliation of vulnerable people, which cannot be acceptable. The public's demand for high quality entertainment should be met by professional drama and light entertainment which has been replaced by this cheap exploitation.''

This follows on from Equity's ultimately unsuccessful attempt last year to secure minimum wage for animals which do the funniest things.

Seriously, the idea isn't as unlikely as it sounds - the BBC pays for people who take part in their singy-singy shows when they're at the 'coming back week-in, week-out' stages - but you suspect the real thinking behind Equity's call is that their core membership are finding fewer and fewer jobs because reality TV is much cheaper to make. If you can make reality TV costs shoot up a little... well... that gap will start to close a bit, won't it?