WIP producers to vote on union; 'Murder' in City Hall

FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES A pilot starring Viola Davis will film at City Hall this weekend, but no word on whether the two-time Oscar nominee will be there.
FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES A pilot starring Viola Davis will film at City Hall this weekend, but no word on whether the two-time Oscar nominee will be there.
Posted: March 07, 2014

SOME producers at Sportsradio 94WIP have taken the first steps to joining SAG-AFTRA, the union that reps film and television performers and broadcasters. They will vote on whether to unionize March 18.

"[Producers] realized the only way to have a consistent voice is to become a union and sit down and start bargaining,"  Steve Leshinski, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of SAG-AFTRA, said about the efforts to unionize.

Marc Rayfield, CBS Radio Philadelphia's senior vice president and marketing manager, sent out a staffwide memo last month urging the 14 producers to vote against unionization. "I have worked at radio stations with unions and at radio stations without unions and I believe a union adds costs without comparative benefits for employees," Rayfield wrote in a memo leaked to me. "I believe that a union adds another layer of complexity and an unnecessary filter for communications."

Leshinski disagreed. "In a lot of ways, it's a benefit to management because you have direct communication with the employees," he said. "You have enforceable contract rules. It protects against favoritism."

Leshinski said that one reason the producers may be seeking to unionize at this juncture is they recently watched as the unionized on-air talent negotiated a favorable contract. WIP also recently moved to Old City, and producers were unable to bargain over the ramifications of the move.

I emailed Rayfield about the memo. He said he had nothing else to add.

'Murder' in City Hall

All right, Gladiators: Get ready for your star spotting.

"How to Get Away with Murder," the new ABC pilot created by  Shonda Rhimes of "Scandal," will start filming this weekend in City Hall, according to a memo sent to staffers. No mention of whether star Viola Davis, an Academy Award nominee, will be in town.

Scenes will primarily take place in common areas, including the courtyard, which will be closed all weekend.

"How to Get Away with Murder" stars Davis as a mysterious law professor who gets herself, and her class, mixed up in a murder case that could change their lives forever.

TV gambles on Casino

Remember  Jamie Casino, the Bristol-born-and-raised lawyer whose Super Bowl-ad tribute to his slain brother went viral? (If not, check it out at  ph.ly/JamieCasino.) Since airing, the ad has racked up 5.5 million hits on YouTube.

Well, Casino is reality show-bound. Warner Bros. signed the Temple grad to an unscripted deal, according to Deadline.com. The site adds that 40 companies were looking to sign the now-Savannah, Ga.-based Casino, born Jamie Biancosino.

The show, called "Casino's Law," will be shepherded by  Mike Fleiss, the mad genius behind "The Bachelor"/"The Bachelorette."

Yet another Philly 'Voice'

Delco's  Audra McLaughlin became the fourth contestant from the area to make it through blind auditions on NBC's "The Voice" after singing  John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery." McLaughlin got a four-chair turnaround from the judges, but eventually went with  Blake Shelton.

McLaughlin is a graduate of Interboro High School and a student at Delaware County Community College.

She joins fellow Philly contestants  Lindsay Pagano and  Joshua Howard, as well as Marlton's Christina Grimmie. Catch "The Voice" at 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC.

'National' anthem

The Awesome Fest will host the Philly premiere of "Mistaken for Strangers," the documentary on the excellent band (and this week's musical guest on "SNL") the  National, March 30 at the Trocadero (1003 Arch St.). Singer  Matt Berninger and his filmmaker brother  Tom will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

Back in the 'Habit'

If you have tickets for tomorrow's  Sting/ Paul Simon show at the Wells Fargo Center, check out  Nasty Habits, featuring the People Paper's  Chuck Darrow on bass. They'll be playing in the arena's Cure Insurance Club from 6 to 8 p.m.


Email: eichelm@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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