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.
The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” is in violation of WGA strike rules.— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 10, 2023
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:
- 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:
This is incredibly disappointing. @DrewBarrymore's show employs WGA writers who are currently on strike. She is choosing to go back on the air without them, and forcing her guests to cross a picket line. Drew: This harms your writers and all union workers. Please reconsider. https://t.co/qUfWdTiu8c— Adam Conover (@adamconover) September 10, 2023
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.
- 'You could be the hero': Fran Drescher tells NPR how the Hollywood strikes can end
- Hollywood union health insurance is particularly good. And it's jeopardized by strike
- From snow globes to tutoring, strikes kick Hollywood side hustles into high gear
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