America's Next Top Picket Line
Former Television Without Pity recapper Djb (also known as Daniel J. Blau) agreed to talk with me on the night of Monday, July 24, about the highly publicized strike of the writers from America's Next Top Model. Samantha West, communications specialist at the Writers Guild of America, west, also sat in on the call. The writers had put out the following joint statement:
We are the overwhelming majority of those in the story department on Americaâs Next Top Model who want to be represented by the WGAw. While we are all very committed to this show and we are proud of the work we do, we are taking a stand to get basic benefits and protections.
We have asked the Writers Guild of America, west, to represent us and negotiate a fair contract that is both economically feasible and affords our story department the protections of a Guild contract, including fair minimums, health insurance, pension benefits, residuals and credits.
We have no interest in jeopardizing our positive working relationship. But what we are asking for isn't unreasonable. There is a double standard being applied as our peers in dramatic television work under the protections of a WGA contract. We should too.
Potes: So Dan, for the Television Without Pity readers out there who don't know who you are, could you just give a brief introduction and tell us a little bit about your history at TWoP and how you started working at Top Model?
Djb: Absolutely. Hi everyone, I'm Djb. I was one of Television Without Pity's first writers back when the internet was invented in 1999. The first show I worked on was the alien-kids-running-around-in-the-desert-blowing-stuff-up show Roswell, which was on the WB for two seasons and then went to UPN. After that got cancelled (several seasons later than it should have), I went to myriad other shows. I did a season of The Real World. I did something called Push, Nevada, which might have actually just been a dream I had, and then I did the entire run of Twin Peaks. Then I ended up on a bunch of reality shows that included the words My Big Fat... in them, and 97 seasons of The Bachelor. And then TWoP took on Top Model at the beginning of Season 2. I watched it and recapped it obsessively -- it was actually the first show on the website in a long time that I had also been a huge fan of. After Season 2 finished airing, UPN knew that they had a juggernaut on their hands, so they went back in time and re-aired the first season. So when they did that, I recapped the first season, as well.