In an announcement on Sunday, Drew Barrymore revealed that she would be halting the Season 4 premiere of her talk show, "The Drew Barrymore Show," in response to the criticism she faced for taping during the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. Barrymore took to Instagram to express her apologies to those she may have hurt and to her dedicated team who has contributed to the success of the show. She emphasized that she had listened to everyone's concerns and made the decision to pause the premiere until the strike is over. Barrymore also expressed her hope for a resolution in the industry soon.
The controversy surrounding Barrymore's decision to proceed with the show despite the strike escalated throughout the week. Online backlash, protests outside the CBS Broadcast Center in Midtown, and the retraction of Barrymore's invitation to host the National Book Awards ceremony ensued. Representatives for Barrymore and the Writers Guild were contacted for comment by The Post.
A spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures, the production and distribution company behind "The Drew Barrymore Show," expressed support for Barrymore's decision to pause the show's return, acknowledging the complexity and difficulty of the situation. The spokesperson further clarified that the show would not perform any writing work covered by the WGA strike.
Barrymore had initially announced on Instagram a week ago that Season 4 of her show would premiere on September 18. She stressed that her decision to return to the show during the strike was driven by the recognition that the issue at hand was bigger than just her. Barrymore assured her followers that the show was in compliance with the strike guidelines, refraining from discussing or promoting any struck film or television. She also highlighted that the show had been launched during the global pandemic and had been designed to address the sensitive issues of the times.
The WGA strike, which began on May 2, is an ongoing battle for better compensation, increased residuals for streaming content, and regulations regarding the use of artificial intelligence. The strike has significantly impacted the entertainment industry, with Hollywood writers demanding fair contracts. In July, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) joined the strike in solidarity with the writers.
Barrymore defended her decision to continue her show in a now-deleted Instagram video. She emphasized that she did not have a PR machine backing her choice and that she was taking full responsibility for her actions. Barrymore expressed her commitment to not hide behind others and to face the consequences directly. Nevertheless, she assured her audience that the show would comply with the union strike guidelines and acknowledged the importance of other people's jobs that were at stake.
"The Drew Barrymore Show" is not the only talk show to face criticism for returning to production during the strike. "The View," "Tamron Hall," "Live with Kelly and Mark," and Bill Maher's “Real Time” have all premiered new seasons this month.
The decision to halt the show's return was met with mixed reactions. Some praised Barrymore for taking responsibility and acknowledging the concerns raised by the unions and viewers. Others expressed disappointment and hoped for a change of heart.
The controversy surrounding Barrymore's decision to continue her show during the strike highlights the ongoing struggle between writers and the entertainment industry for fair contracts and compensation. The outcome of the strike and the resolution of these issues will have a significant impact on the future of the industry.