Drew Barrymore has officially walked back her controversial plans to return to her talk show during the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. On Sunday morning, the actress took to her personal Instagram account to release a statement announcing that the show would remain on hiatus until the strike is resolved.
The decision marks the end of a week of bad publicity for Barrymore and the daytime television industry as a whole. The show’s return was the subject of harsh criticism from supporters of the WGA strike, with Barrymore herself expressing regret about the decision throughout the tumultuous week. Those who need a refresher can keep reading for a day-by-day breakdown of the saga.
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September 11 — “The Drew Barrymore Show” Returns from Hiatus
Several daytime talk shows, including “The Talk,” “The View,” and “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” made plans to resume production in September without the scripted portions typically written by WGA members. But as the first show to film a new episode, “The Drew Barrymore Show” received an outsized share of the backlash to the decision.
While Barrymore was not in violation of the SAG-AFTRA strike (talk show hosts work under different contracts than actors), many felt that producing new episodes of a TV show weakened the WGA’s negotiating position. Barrymore defended the initial plan, citing it as a necessary business decision made to allow her staff to return to work.
“I am also 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,” Barrymore said in a statement announcing the show’s return. “I own this choice.”
The show’s first taping was picketed by WGA members, and attracted additional controversy when two audience members wearing WGA pins were reportedly removed from the studio.
“It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings. Due to heightened security concerns today, we regret that two audience members were not permitted to attend or were not allowed access. Drew was completely unaware of the incident and we are in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets,” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement to IndieWire.
September 14 — Barrymore’s Co-Head Writer Criticizes Decision to Return
One of the most public critics of Barrymore’s return was her show’s co-head writer, Christina Kinion.
“I personally understand that everybody has to make the best decision for themselves,” Kinon said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I know that this show has a crew of hundreds of people who need to be paid, and I understand the perspective of wanting to protect your cast, your crew, and your staff.”
Kinion added that while she understood Barrymore’s reasons for returning, she still saw the decision as ultimately hurting writers and prolonging the strike.
“I don’t see how what I do is different from writing for a scripted show, or writing feature films — which I also do,” she said. “We’re all trying to make a career out of writing, and the AMPTP is trying to slowly chip away at that. And they wouldn’t have anything without writers; writers are the seed of all of creation. Now, there’s word that maybe some other shows are coming back. So it is frustrating, because it will prolong the strike, and we just want it to end.”
September 15 — Barrymore Apologizes for Resuming Production, but Says New Episodes Will Continue
After days of backlash, Barrymore directly addressed her fans on Instagram. She offered a tearful apology for breaking the strike and took ownership for the decision, but said that the show had to continue filming and airing new episodes for business reasons beyond her control.
“I know there is just nothing I can do that will make this okay to those that it is not okay with,” Barrymore said. “I fully accept that. I fully understand that. There are so many reasons why this is so complex, and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anymore. It’s not who I am.”
September 17 — Barrymore Announces That Show Will Not Return Until Strike Is Resolved
By Sunday morning, Barrymore reversed course and announced that the show will remain on hiatus for as long as the WGA is on strike.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore wrote on Instagram. “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.”
In a statement provided to IndieWire, a CBS Media Ventures spokesperson said: “We support Drew’s decision to pause the show’s return and understand how complex and difficult this process has been for her.”
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