A problem may be brewing at “The Young and the Restless” (Y&R) and “Bold and the Beautiful” (B&B) -and this time it doesn’t involve storylines, casting or actors’ contracts. This time according to Deadline, the problem is that CBS is allegedly bullying the daytime drama writers into signing waivers. A source close to the Writers Guild of America (WGA) stepped forward and spoke up, saying, “Writers have told the guild this is happening.” What does this mean to the writers?
A waiver allows a writer to cut back on their work assignments as long as the reason they need to do so is legitimate. These reasons include an illness or death in the family or other personal emergency. Though writers have gone to the WGA and complained, many are afraid they will lose their jobs entirely and refuse to come forward and report this underhanded behavior. According to the Writers Guild of America contract, producers of daytime dramas must give each writer at least one assignment per week. TPTB are manipulating the system, allegedly, strong-arming writers to sign waivers and give up assignments in an attempt to trim the budget for the soap opera.
Producers of the soap operas are using the waivers to – purportedly – give preferential treatment to favored writers and fewer assignments to the less-favored writers. A source revealed to Deadline.com that the producers are “gaming the system” by forcing certain writers to reduce their assignments by one or more a month even though the show’s writer wants to work full time. In essence what producers at the “The Young and the Restless” and “Bold and the Beautiful” are doing is reducing these writers to part-time status. Then, they will allow an actor or line producer to write a show or bring in a new writer at no additional cost. This type of bullying may be happening for ABC’s “General Hospital” (GH) and NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” (DOOL) also. But, according to the source, the most complaints have been received from writers on the CBS soap operas.
Do you think this alleged new practice is hurting the storylines on all four soap operas? What can the WGA do to protect the daytime dramas more? If this it is true – instead of forcing writers to sign waivers – what other way can the networks cut costs?