UPDATE: To answer your first question first: Yes, E!’s Fashion Police has writers.
Second, they’re going on strike. The Writers Guild of America has called on its members to halt work on the fashion chat show, which is hosted by comedian Joan Rivers and produced by her production company, Rugby Productions.
“This is very simple,” said Fashion Police writer Ned Rice in a statement. “We have earned the right to be a Guild show, we deserve to be a Guild show, and we want to be a Guild show. The ball is clearly in E! and Rugby’s court right now and we’re ready to go back to work on Fashion Police just as soon as they sign a WGA contract.”
“Fashion Police is one of the network’s top-rated shows,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship in a joint statement. “Its writers are an integral part of that success. To deny them the basic guarantees that are the right of all writers is not only unjust, it is also a counterproductive business practice. All WGA members are now prohibited from working on Fashion Police. This order will remain in effect until E! and Rugby do what is right.”
Writers on the show previously filed complaints with the state of California against E! and Rivers’ company alleging the company has denied paying them $1.5 million in regular and overtime hours. At the time, the E! said in a statement: “E! values our Fashion Police writers and we pay them fairly and in full legal compliance.”
E! had no comment on the call to strike.
UPDATE: E! sent this email to its employees: “I want to make sure you are aware of a work action taking place on Fashion Police. We are disappointed that the WGA has called a strike and some of the Fashion Police writers have chosen to vacate their positions. It’s unfortunate given that we have taken every action to expedite an election for these writers to decide if they wish to have a bargaining representative, which is the NLRB process that E! and the Guild followed for two other shows now under WGA agreements. In fact, if the WGA had taken the same path as they did with The Soup and Chelsea Lately, we would be well into negotiations toward a deal at this time. We are hopeful the Fashion Police writers will choose to follow the same process and if the writers vote for Guild representation, we are prepared to sit down immediately with WGA representatives in the hopes of reaching a fair agreement.”
The network also released this statement: “As a point of clarification, Joan Rivers has gone on record repeatedly that she supports the Fashion Police writers and wants a fair agreement for them.”