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Hollywood writers have sued Fox Broadcasting and the producer of such reality shows as “Joe Millionaire,” charging the companies with violating California’s labor laws covering payment of wages, overtime and meal breaks. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, is the second filed with assistance from the Writers Guild of America, west, which is trying to pressure producers to agree to an industrywide contract with those who “write” the supposedly unscripted shows. The latest suit was filed on behalf of 10 writers and editors and is seeking class action status. It claims that Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories, the producer of seven reality shows on Fox, required employees to falsify time cards, failed to pay overtime and routinely required plaintiffs to work 12 hours a day or more. Last month, a group of 12 writers sued ABC, CBS, WB and Turner Broadcasting System Inc., as well as several other producers, making similar claims. “It’s time for Fox and the other major broadcasting companies to step out in the light of day and end these injustices,” WGA president Daniel Petrie Jr. said in a statement Wednesday. Representatives of Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories reached Wednesday said they could not comment on pending litigation. The WGA launched a public campaign in June for an industrywide contract with reality show producers after rejecting a show-by-show negotiating approach. The union sent letters to producers demanding union recognition and threatened to strike if producers did not negotiate. The union also said it has received nearly 1,000 signed cards from reality TV workers requesting representation. The union claims that workers with titles such as story editors, field producers, story assistants and editors actually “write” the shows by sifting through hundreds of hours of footage to craft story lines. The WGA claims reality shows have become cash cows for the networks in large part because producers do not have to pay union wages and benefits. The lawsuit seeks unpaid wages and overtime and interest as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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