In a surprising turn of events, The Drew Barrymore Show is set to make its return to television screens for its fourth season despite the ongoing strikes by both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA.
The decision has raised eyebrows and drawn criticism, with union members preparing to picket outside the show’s studios in New York City on Monday and Tuesday.
The show had been on hiatus since the strike commenced on May 2nd. However, it has now chosen to resume production without its writers, a move that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Writers Guild. A spokesperson for the WGA stated, “It has stayed off the air since the strike began on May 2nd but has now (unfortunately) decided to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket any struck show that continues production for the duration of the strike.”
Barrymore herself addressed the controversy in a lengthy Instagram post. She began by recounting her decision to forego hosting the MTV Film and TV Awards in May as a show of solidarity with the striking writers. Barrymore emphasized that her show’s third season had wrapped prior to the strike, allowing it to avoid shutdown. However, she is making a conscious choice to return to work now, despite the ongoing strikes, because she believes her show is “bigger than just me.”
“I own this choice,” Barrymore declared. She clarified that the show would not discuss or promote any struck film or television material, in accordance with strike rules.
Barrymore’s decision comes from her desire to provide work for writers and entertainment for viewers during these challenging times. She expressed her intention to utilize her show to bring people together and help them make sense of the human experience.
Per the rules of the WGA strike, most daytime talk shows are allowed to continue airing since they typically do not employ union-affiliated writers. However, there are exceptions, including The Drew Barrymore Show and The Talk, both of which had gone dark at the start of the strike.
While The Drew Barrymore Show returns, actors who appear as guests will have to adhere to SAG-AFTRA strike rules, which include refraining from discussing or promoting any struck work.
The upcoming season of the show is expected to introduce celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton as a new addition to the team of lifestyle experts. It will also feature a new segment called “Take Care Everywhere” with Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, founder of The Menopause Bootcamp, and revive popular segments from previous seasons, including “Drew-Gooders,” “Design by Drew,” and “Cookbook Club.”
CBS Media Ventures, the distributor of the show, expressed excitement about its return and commended its resilience during the pandemic. The network touted “The Drew Barrymore Show” as the fastest-growing show in daytime television. However, the decision to resume production without the writers has sparked significant controversy within the entertainment industry amidst the ongoing strikes.
For Reel 360 News’ full strike coverage, click here.