Drew Barrymore explains why she made the controversial decision to return to producing her talk show amid the Writers Guild strike, telling critics in a new video that “I can’t or won’t do anything at this point.” Writers say “Okay.”
In a video statement posted to her Instagram on Friday (below), Barrymore reiterated CBS Media Ventures’ earlier assertion. The Drew Barrymore Show Returns will “comply” with the WGA’s striking rules. Recording resumed this week, despite the union and union members picketing outside the CBS broadcast center in New York, causing continued backlash.
“I certainly could not have expected this kind of attention,” the actress, producer and talk show host says of her decision. “We’re not going to break the rules, we’re going to be compliant. Like I said, this is bigger than me and I wanted to do this because other people’s jobs are on the line.
The actress and host denied there was a “PR” machine to restart the show without WGA writers. His video came a day after the WGA and AMPTP publicly said they were planning a meeting next week. (The studios have not returned to negotiations with SAG-AFTRA, which is on strike under a different contract than the one covering Barrymore’s talk show.)
“I don’t really know what to say because sometimes when things get really tough, it’s hard to make decisions from there. So all I can say is that I wanted to take responsibility and now I don’t have a PR machine behind it. My decision to go back to the show – I don’t want to hide behind people,” he said. “I don’t gloss over it with bells and whistles and advertisers and corporate rhetoric. I will stand out and accept and be responsible.
Produced and distributed by CBS Media Ventures The Drew Barrymore Show, part of Paramount Global, one of the media companies Writers Strike Against. Some daytime talk shows, including Barrymore’s, employ WGA writers, although generally not many late-night shows or scripted series do. Two other WGA-covered shows, CBS’ Speech and Warner Bros.-distributed The Jennifer Hudson Show, and is set to return on September 18, with picketing outside both. ABC display The writers’ strike has been on the air (and picketed) throughout, although the network said none of the two WGA writers who were on staff prior to the labor strike were performing their duties.
Barrymore noted that the reason for the return was based on her and the show’s experiences during the pandemic.
“Since a pandemic started live, I wanted to do a show that would be there for people in sensitive times, and I weighed the scales and thought if we can go through a global pandemic, and everything the world has been through in 2020, why does this sideline us?” she noted. “So I want to put one foot in front of the other and make a show that people have regardless of anything else going on in the world, because I think we all need something that we want to be more realistic. Realistic times.”
Rick Porter contributed to this story.