ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Speaking of FOX Television . . .

Paula_abdul_1Fox's megahit American Idol has a problem, and for once, it's not Paula's fault.  No, this time the Associated Press is reporting that the problem is with management.  The American Federation of Musicians, a musicians' union, is suing the producers of the program, claiming that they were underpaid because the shows music was re-recorded for reruns.

Here is the AP's summary of the nature of the suit:

That contract says the show's musicians should be paid royalties for rebroadcasts of the show, the lawsuit said.

The producers are required to pay 75 percent of scale to musicians who appear in the original show and rehearsals, plus 10 percent of that pay to a union pension fund, with decreasing percentages for each rebroadcast, according to court papers.

In 2007, the producers started cutting out the show's soundtrack and using different musicians to re-record new music for the past-season highlights show "American Idol Rewind," the lawsuit said.

I am genuinely curious about the backstory here.  Why would the producers go to the trouble of hiring new musicians and re-recording the music?  After all, the musicians' salaries and benefits must be de minimis in the grand scheme of things.

[Jeremy Telman]

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