Reality TV Gets Expensive as Judge Approves Class Action Status

A judge today approved two class-action settlements totaling more than $4 million for about 20 writers and producers who claimed wage and hour violations while working on reality shows.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Conrad A. Aragon said he would sign off on a settlement of $2.575 million for one set of plaintiffs who sued Fox Broadcasting Co. and a production company, Rocket Science Laboratories.

The other settlement Aragon approved calls for a collective payment of $1.545 million to plaintiffs. It was brought against ABC, CBS, the WB Television Network, Turner Broadcasting Co. and a number of production companies.

The plaintiffs in the settlement against Fox worked on such reality shows as "Trading Spouses," "Joe Millionaire," "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" and the reality special, "Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay."

The writers and producers who brought the case against ABC and the other networks had jobs on such shows as "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," "Are You Hot?," "The Starlet" and "The Real Gilligan's Island."

Both complaints alleged the workers were denied some of their regular and overtime payments. They also claimed they were denied time to pause from work to eat meals.

Both lawsuits were brought in 2005.

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