Drew Barrymore And Bill Maher Have Taken A Lot Of Flak For Going Back To Work, But A Ton Of Other Major Hosts Have Started Announcing Talk Returns Too

 From left to right: screenshots of Drew Barrymore on The Drew Barrymore Show and Bill Maher on Real Time with Bill Maher.
From left to right: screenshots of Drew Barrymore on The Drew Barrymore Show and Bill Maher on Real Time with Bill Maher.

As the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes continue, there are many talk shows that have decided to return to the 2023 TV schedule. This includes popular shows, The Drew Barrymore Show and Real Time with Bill Maher. Both hosts have taken a lot of flak for their decision to go back to work. However, there are other major hosts who have also announced their returns to the small screen.

Drew Barrymore Is Taking Flack For Going Back To Work

Following the talk show’s summer hiatus, Drew Barrymore announced that her show would be returning this fall. When this news came out, she opened up and owned her choice to return to daytime TV, even though the strikes are still happening. The actress took to Instagram to post a statement about why she was bringing the show back, and it received a lot of criticism.

While The Drew Barrymore Show is not a struck property for SAG-AFTRA, because it is under a different contract called the Network Television Code, it has been called out for going back to work when there are WGA members on the staff. The Writers Guild of America, East called out the show on X, posting:

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Others also commented about their disapproval on the actress-turned-host's IG post, writing things like:

  • Wow, drew, come on... take off the rose colored glasses those are red flags not just flags. STOP. Think it over. -thegeneralstrikeus

  • Please reconsider. Well intentions noted — however this mostly plays into AMPTP hands to undermine the Strike. #WGAstrong -dallasgoldtooth

Along the same lines, Bill Maher faced criticism for also deciding to bring his show back as the WGA remains on strike.

Bill Maher Is Also Facing Criticism For Returning To His Show

Like Barrymore, Bill Maher announced his show Real Time would be returning to the air. In his post on X, he explained that it will be “sans writers or writing.” He also wrote that they won’t do written work in an effort to “honor the spirit of the strike.” The host also said the decision to come back was made because his entire crew has been out of work for months now. Here is his full statement:

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This decision was met with criticism from viewers and the WGA. The guild said in a statement, via Deadline, that they would be picketing the HBO show, and they found Maher’s choice “disappointing.” Part of the union’s quote about Real Time coming back read:

Bill Maher’s decision to go back on the air while his Guild is on strike is disappointing. If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike’. Bill Maher is obligated as a WGA member to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how Real Time with Bill Maher can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show.

Along with Maher and Drew Barrymore though, many other hosts have returned to work as both writers and actors continue to walk the picket lines.

There Are More Daytime Shows That Will Begin Filming As The Strikes Continue

Along with The Drew Barrymore Show and Real Time with Bill Maher, three other shows are reportedly going to start production, per EW. The Jennifer Hudson Show, Sherri and The Talk will supposedly all be returning with new episodes soon, even though the strikes are still happening.

Hudson’s show will reportedly come back without writers on September 18, and once the strike is over it will bring back its WGA writers. Sherri is also set to return on the same day.

Other daytime talk shows have been on air all summer. The View, Tamron Hall and Live with Kelly and Mark have all been releasing new episodes throughout the strikes.

As the strikes have gone on, various productions have been able to continue. Specifically, SAG-AFTRA has been granting interim agreements that allow productions to keep working if their studio agrees to their demands. This is why some actors, including Jessica Chastain, were able to promote their films at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. However, lots of productions aren’t under these agreements because they’re from studios that are part of the AMPTP.

Meanwhile, as noted above, daytime talk shows have returned to air without their writers, who are currently on strike. Many have also agreed to not promote struck work or have guests on their show to talk about struck projects.

As writers and actors work to negotiate a fair deal, and quite a few daytime talk shows return to their timeslots, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with the latest news on the strikes.