Drew Barrymore to restart her talk show amid strikes, drawing heated criticism
Drew Barrymore has announced she is bringing back her talk show amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes, sparking condemnation from actors and writers and calls for the show to be picketed.
Who is she? The actor and producer is a Hollywood stalwart who got her start when she was just a few years old. In 2020, she launched The Drew Barrymore Show.
- The show is a mix of lifestyle and product chats, and CBS promotes its “exclusive celebrity interviews, unique lifestyle segments, social media influencers and feel-good news stories.”
- This will be its fourth season, after it last wrapped in April just before the strikes started. It’s slated to begin on Sept. 18 without writers.
- Writers have been on strike since May, with actors joining them in July, as contract negotiations with major studios grind to a standstill.
Can Barrymore do this? Sure. But it’s controversial.
- In a statement over the weekend, Barrymore said “I own this choice” and that the show would also be “in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind.”
- But the Writers Guild of America [WGA] says the show itself is “struck” — meaning union members are prohibited from working on it. The WGA says it will picket any struck shows that are in production during the strike, adding in a statement: “Any writing on The Drew Barrymore Show is in violation of WGA strike rules.”
- Other talk shows have paused and are airing re-runs while the strikes continue. The hosts of the late night shows have recently teamed up for a new podcast, Strike Force Five, with the proceeds to go towards show staff.
What are people saying?
- Fellow actors have been highly critical of the move. The West Wing’s Josh Malina called Barrymore a “scab,” while Crazy Ex-Girlfriend actor Benjamin Siemon wrote on X: “Who is she going to interview? No actors can promote anything.”
- In a statement on her Instagram, Barrymore said she was “making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me.” She added:
Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience. I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible.
- In a statement, Wendy McMahon, the president and CEO of CBS News and Stations and CBS Media Ventures, said she was excited for the show to come back:
From launching during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to successfully pivoting to a groundbreaking half-hour format, this show has demonstrated spectacular resilience and creative agility on its journey to becoming the fastest-growing show in daytime.
So, what now?
- Unless something changes, all signs are the show will begin next week and WGA members will picket tapings.
- The unknown is how it will rate and whether TV viewers will be put off by the strikes, or just be happy for original content again.
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