As the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes continue, most entertainers in Hollywood remain out of work while seeking better deals for their respective guilds. Some stars, however, have been seeking to return to work over the past few weeks, though. This has specifically been prevalent within the talk show sphere, with Drew Barrymore being one of the key figures to resume production amid the strikes. After it was reported that her eponymous talk show would return, she received pushback and addressed the matter in a since-deleted apology video. At that time, Barrymore maintained that her show would still move forward but, now, she’s confirmed in a statement that those plans have been axed.
The 48-year-old actress and media personality confirmed on Sunday that The Drew Barrymore Show would not air as planned. The daytime TV program was set to return to the airwaves on Monday, September 18. Barrymore herself confirmed the news in a message that was shared to Instagram (which is where she also shared her viral video). She expressed her “deepest apologies” for everything that’s transpired up to this point and expressed gratitude towards her crew:
I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over. 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.
Drew Barrymore confirmed about a week ago that her show was set to get back to work. Members of both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA guild expressed their disapproval of her choice. Many, including the co-head writer of Barrymore’s program, asserted that the decision to restart work would be damaging for the strike and potentially prolong it. Critics argued that production should remain paused as a sign of solidarity towards those seeking better deals. For the sake of clarity, the show wouldn’t have been violating SAG rules, as talk show hosts can continue to work at this time. The point of contention, however, is linked to the fact that the chat show uses WGA union writers and would've had to utilize non-members to produce new episodes.
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The Charlie’s Angels alum initially spoke about owning the choice to have her series resume production. Following the wave of backlash, she emotionally opened up on the matter, saying that she wanted to “take full responsibility” for her actions and “apologize” to her writers and the guilds. In regard to her rationale for getting the show going again, she noted that “there are other people's jobs on the line.” She also likened this era to the early days of the COVID pandemic, stating that she “wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times.” As mentioned, at that point, she further confirmed that the plans would continue.
As mentioned, other prominent talk show hosts are preparing to return to their positions as well. Chief among them are Bill Maher, Jennifer Hudson and the panel featured on The Talk. Maher has spoken out on his decision to jump back into Real Time, posting about it on X (formerly Twitter). While he said that the writers “have important issues that I sympathize with,” he also asserted that “it is time to bring people back to work.” When the long-running series returns, it’ll notably be without an opening monologue, desk piece or "New Rules" segment.
Now that Drew Barrymore has opted not to move forward with production, one has to wonder if other talk show hosts who plan to resume taping will follow suit. Only time will tell if that continues to be the case, as the public at large also keeps its eyes on the ongoing strikes.