Drew Barrymore reverses decision to bring back talk show amid strikes

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Drew Barrymore Advertising Week New York 2016 - Day 2
Drew Barrymore speaks onstage during the Building a Brand in a Mobile-First World panel on the Times Center Stage during 2016 Advertising Week New York on September 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)

Drew Barrymore, who drew criticism for taping new episodes of her daytime talk show despite the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes, now says she’ll wait until the labor issues are resolved. Hours later, another CBS talk show, The Talk, also decided to delay its return.

“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore posted on Instagram on Sunday (Sep. 17, 2023). “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”

The actor and host’s initial decision to return The Drew Barrymore Show to the air on Monday 18 September – without her three union writers and with picketers outside her studio – was met with pushback on social media. Her CBS show resumed taping in New York last week and was picketed by striking writers.

“We support Drew’s decision to pause the show’s return and understand how complex and difficult this process has been for her,” said a CBS Media Ventures spokesperson.

According to Variety, episodes of The Drew Barrymore Show that were taped last week will not go to air; instead, repeats will be screened for the time being.

Earlier over the weekend, Barrymore posted a tearful apology in an Instagram video that has since been deleted, in which she took responsibility for wanting to bring her show back – in accordance with the Sag-Aftra and WGA strike rules. “I wanted to do this because, as I said, this is bigger than me, and there are other people’s jobs on the line,” she said.

Other daytime shows have resumed. The View has returned for its 27th season on ABC, while Tamron Hall and Live With Kelly and Ryan (neither are governed by writers’ guild rules) have also been producing fresh episodes.

The Jennifer Hudson Show was due to restart Monday, but Variety reported that it had pushed back its return.

The Talk has also scrapped its restart, planned for Monday. “We will continue to evaluate plans for a new launch date,” CBC said in a statement Sunday.

Ariel Dumas, head writer and supervising producer for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert reacted on X, formerly Twitter: “This is really great,” she wrote, saying The Drew Barrymore Show “decided to do the right thing. I hope @TheView and others will follow suit”.

As long as the hosts and guests don’t discuss or promote work covered by television, theatrical, or streaming contracts, they’re not technically breaking the strike. That’s because talk shows are covered under a separate contract – the so-called Network Code – from the one actors and writers are striking. The Network Code also covers reality TV, sports, morning news shows, soap operas and game shows.

Barrymore’s stance prompted the National Book Awards to uninvite her as host in November. The organization rescinded her invitation “in light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production”.

The ongoing strike pits the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Disney, Netflix, Amazon and others.


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