Watch CBSN Live

E!'s "Fashion Police" writers go on strike

Writers for E's "Fashion Police," which stars Joan Rivers, Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos, are going on strike two weeks after filing a complaint that could result in the cable TV network having to pay more than $1 million dollars in back wages.

The strike against both E! and Rugby Productions -- Rivers' production company -- is sanctioned by the Writers Guild of America (WGA), whose East and West branches urged both members and non-members not to work on the program.

"'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 E! Network's comedy-variety show, "Fashion Police," walked off their jobs today to gain Writers Guild coverage and to protest the company's unfair labor practices," explained a WGA letter posted online Wednesday.

"Although 'Fashion Police' is one of E!'s highest-rated shows, its writers lack health and pension benefits, residuals, and industry-standard compensation. When the writers began to organize earlier this year they were met with threats and delaying tactics," the letter continued, and encouraged "non-members to respect the strike and support these writers, who are taking a stand against substandard wages and conditions."

Earlier this month, "Fashion Police" writers filed claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), alleging that E! has broken state labor law by not compensating them for all of the regular and overtime hours they've worked. Since the show is a comedy-variety show, it is not covered by a WGA agreement.

"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."

So the first question is: Did you know that "Fashion Police" had writers or did you think it's hosts were that naturally witty?

View CBS News In