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'Undercover' Paychecks

September 07, 1996

Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo, stars of the Fox series "New York Undercover," have received unfair criticism regarding their dispute over pay and working conditions ("Tensions Simmer 'Undercover,' " Aug. 29). Giving yearly pay increases and benefits to lead actors is an industry standard. The show's executive producer, Dick Wolf, conveniently ignored this rule by dismissing the actors demands as "a virus" in the entertainment industry.

The police drama is currently in its third season. Any show that survives the first year is considered a success. How is it fair that Yoba and DeLorenzo will receive the same paycheck devised for their original series test run?

Yoba's concerns about decent working conditions, security and better food for the crew are reasonable requests. It saddens me to hear Wolf reject the actors' concerns by saying the series "was not yet a success with a large audience." The show is No. 1 in African American and Latino households. Why does an urban show need acceptance from white, middle-class America in order to be considered a bona fide hit?

The poor resolution of their dispute mirrors the underlying racism still brewing in the entertainment business.

DAWN RADLOFF

Cerritos

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