Drew Barrymore, actress and talk show host, announced on Sunday that her talk show, "The Drew Barrymore Show," will be returning for its fourth season, despite the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes. In a statement posted on her Instagram account, Barrymore explained that she had previously turned down hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards in support of the striking writers, as the awards show conflicted with the issues being addressed in the strike. She stated, "It was also in the first week of the strike, and so I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers." She also emphasized that her talk show would abide by the strike rules, stating, "We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind."
However, the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) expressed their disapproval of Barrymore's decision and announced that they would be picketing the talk show at its studio, the CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan, on Monday. The WGA tweeted, "The Drew Barrymore 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' violates WGA strike rules."
Barrymore defended her choice to continue with her talk show, emphasizing that it was a personal decision. She wrote on Instagram, "I own this choice" and stated that her show was designed to provide a platform for bringing people together and making sense of the human experience. She also expressed hope for a resolution to the strike, stating, "I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air."
It's important to note that the strike by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA has been ongoing for more than three months, with screenwriters demanding better pay in the streaming era and regulations regarding the use of artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA, the labor union representing actors, joined the strike, marking the first work stoppage by performers since 1980. The strike began after negotiations between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down.
As the strike continues, CBS Media Ventures, the production and distribution company behind "The Drew Barrymore Show," assured that the show would not involve any writing work covered by the strike. The show's president and CEO, Wendy McMahon, expressed excitement for the upcoming season and praised Barrymore and the show for their resilience and creativity during challenging times.
The WGA East has planned to picket outside the CBS Broadcast Center on Monday and Tuesday to protest the return of "The Drew Barrymore Show" without its writers. The guild's social media account shared a statement reiterating that any writing on the show would be in violation of the strike rules.
Barrymore's talk show, which premiered in September 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced significant growth last season, with a 65% increase in total viewers year to year, making it the fastest-growing talk show on television, according to Deadline.
In addition to the talk show controversy, the strike has also affected other shows, including the new season of "Jeopardy!," which will be using recycled material and featuring former contestants due to the strike's impact on the availability of new content.