There is a drought. And it’s not creating wildfires in California this time – it’s creating employment fires. Union reports are out, and TV workers in the UK are struggling.
In the area of reality TV, union Bectu polled roughly 2000 of its members and concluded 45 percent are out of work. And overall, 75 percent are having difficulty making due. As a result, the union has raised the alarm about the lack of work available.
But is this a reality TV problem? People in the industry are responding across the Internet, and it’s a much bigger problem than anticipated. Apparently, it’s across all unscripted work – be it docu series, documentary, etc. And it’s not a UK problem. The US is experiencing a drought as well.
What does this say about unscripted television? Is it less entertaining for viewers today? Is it a transitional period?
We don’t know if work will return in the long or short term. But it’s not only affecting worker livelihoods at this point; it’s affecting quality of life. Time to do what you have to. And here’s hoping workers come out the other side of their difficulty on a personal level, as well as adapting to the current work climate.
Mums the word from broadcasters
James Taylor, freelance producer and co-chair of Bectu’s unscripted TV branch has said, “The broadcasters need to be honest with us freelancers. Are we reaching a point where TV production is no longer a full-time, year-round job? We need to acknowledge that continuing crises like this cost the industry more in the long run, as we lose the valuable experience that makes the UK a global leader in TV production.”
It’s tough when an industry turns. And potentially doesn’t turn back. For example, I’m sure old Hollywood had difficulty adapting to the emergence of technology. Or any generation, group of people, or individual who has to pivot, adapt, or start anew for work.
We’re looking for the best outcome here, for the industry. But for the individual’s sake, here’s hoping you get on a hit show like Love Island, or a new show like The Genius.
TELL US – IS THIS SURPRISING TO YOU? IS REALITY TV DYING? IS THE CURRENT STATE OF UNSCRIPTED TV THE NEW NORM?