Drew Barrymore Shares Statement She Will Pause Show Premiere Amid Industry Strikes and Backlash (UPDATE)

The 48-year-old actress and host announced plans to bring back her show amid ongoing industry strikes.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Albie Awards

UPDATED 9/17, 10:20 a.m. ET: After careful consideration, Drew Barrymore has decided to pause her show's premiere.

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.

UPDATED 9/15, 3:50 p.m. ET: In a tearful video shared on social media, Drew Barrymore has responded to the backlash over her decision to bring back her daytime talk show amid the dual industry strikes.

"I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay,” Barrymore started the four-minute clip. "I wanted to own a decision, so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation, and I would just take full responsibility for my actions. ... I know there is just nothing I can do that will make this OK to those that it is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that. There are so many reasons why this is so complex, and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone."

The 48-year-old apologized to her striking writers and to the unions that represent them. “There’s a huge question of the why—why am I doing this?” she continued. “Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention, and we aren’t going to break rules and we will be in compliance. I wanted to do this, because as I said, this is bigger than me and there are other people’s jobs on the line. And since launching live in a pandemic, I just wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times."

After comparing a lethal pandemic that shut down most of the world to that of workers in the entertainment industry striking to be fairly paid for their labor, she said, "I weighed the scales and I thought, if we can go on during a global pandemic, and everything that the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us?"

After six days of backlash, Drew Barrymore has uploaded this video responding to the news that she is bringing her talk show back during the writer’s strike.

She says the reason she's bringing her show back is she managed to do it during the pandemic, so she feels the strike… pic.twitter.com/NVbIeSmdqI

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 15, 2023
Twitter: @yashar

As previously explained by a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson, per NBC News, The Drew Barrymore Show is produced under the Network Television Code, which is a different contract. This means she isn't breaking the strike, but her writers are currently striking along with WGA, which is on its 136th day of the strike. It remains to be seen how the show will operate without its writing staff.

UPDATED 9/12, 12:05 a.m. ET: Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and writers for The Drew Barrymore Show protested outside of CBS Studios in New York City on Monday morning as the talk show resumed filming during the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes.

The Drew Barrymore Show's WGA writers, fans, and our union allies held the picket line for 8+ hours outside of CBS. #WGAstrike pic.twitter.com/ueJflYg7Bz

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 11, 2023
Twitter: @WGAEast

It's important you see the BRILLIANT strike signs that Drew Barrymore show writers made because they are so good and a further reminder why we need writers and should support them in this strike at all costs. 💪💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/Z4COkQLon4

— Lane Moore📚 (@hellolanemoore) September 11, 2023
Twitter: @hellolanemoore

Two NYC-based students, Dominic Turiczek and Cassidy Carter, told The Hollywood Reporter they secured free tickets for the taping about a week and a half ago. Although they said they were aware of the strikes, they claimed they didn’t know Barrymore’s show was being protested. The pair say they received WGA pins from the picketers but were later asked to leave the studio before the show began, due to said pins.

Went to @DrewBarrymoreTV after winning tickets, unaware of the #WGA strike. We took pins & went in, got kicked out, & verbally assaulted by @DrewBarrymore’s crew. It’s clear they don’t support #WGAStrong, writers or fans! #DrewTheRightThing So we took shirts and joined. Fuck that pic.twitter.com/UuyCxAS491

— Dominic Turiczek (@dom_turiczek) September 11, 2023
Twitter: @dom_turiczek

“Went to @DrewBarrymoreTV after winning tickets, unaware of the #WGA strike. We took pins & went in, got kicked out, & verbally assaulted by @DrewBarrymore’s crew. It’s clear they don’t support #WGAStrong, writers or fans!” wrote Turiczek on his X account. “#DrewTheRightThing So we took shirts and joined. Fuck that.”

He provided more clarity on the situation in a later post, adding, “We knew about the #WGA strike, just not that they were picketing at Drew’s show. We were unaware until inside, that her show had WGA writers, thus crossing picket lines by starting again. We won the tickets last minute and didn’t do enough research, clearly.”

“We didn’t say anything to anyone or cause any sort of scene,” added Turiczek in a reply to another user. “That small button really triggered the @DrewBarrymoreTV. Wonder why… 🤔” 

A spokesperson for The Drew Barrymore Show offered the following statement to THR: “It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings. Due to heightened security concerns today, we regret that two audience members were not permitted to attend or were not allowed access. Drew was completely unaware of the incident and we are in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets.”

See original story below.

Drew Barrymore says she is bringing back her daytime talk show despite the ongoing entertainment industry strikes.

The announcement came on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 10) via a statement on Instagram. "I made a choice to walk away from the MTV, film, and television awards because I was the host and it had a direct conflict with what the strike was dealing with which was studios, streamers, film, and television," wrote Barrymore about pulling out of MTV's award show in May.

The 48-year-old actress and host continued, "It was also in the first week of the strike and so I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers. And to be clear, our talk show actually wrapped on April 20th so we never had to shut down the show."

"However, I am also making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me," she added.

Daytime talk shows like The Drew Barrymore Show employ writers who are members of the Writers Guild of America. The WGA officially went on strike (May 2) and halted other syndicated shows such as NBC's The Kelly Clarkson Show and CBS' The Talk. Other shows such as ABC's Live With Kelly and Mark, Tamron Hall, and The View are unaffected by the strikes since the shows are mostly unscripted, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"I own this choice. We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic," Barrymore continues. "I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience. I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air. And so I take a step forward to start season 4 once again with an astute humility."

NYC Picket alert! Tomorrow 🪧

Join us in holding the picket line at the Drew Barrymore Show as they resume taping, in the middle of dual Hollywood strikes.

Sign up for any of the 3 shifts: https://t.co/lSdJrQwpNc#WGAstrike pic.twitter.com/OEYVUAbaw8

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 10, 2023
Twitter: @WGAEast

However, the East Coast branch of the WGA does not share Barrymore's "togetherness" sentiment and has announced plans to picket tomorrow (Sept. 11) outside of the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City where the show is taped.

This is so disappointing. I would hope you'd be better than this. As a woman who has staked her life and livelihood on recovering from exploitative practices within Hollywood to turn around and try and make a profit during a labor movement? @DrewBarrymoreTV @DrewBarrymore

— MBQ | bang bang (@MBQhoo) September 10, 2023
Twitter: @MBQhoo

"This is so disappointing. I would hope you'd be better than this. As a woman who has staked her life and livelihood on recovering from exploitative practices within Hollywood to turn around and try and make a profit during a labor movement?" wrote one X user in light of Barrymore's announcement.

The entertainment industry is currently experiencing major strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions to address fair and equitable deals for the writers and actors from major studios. The WGA is advocating for higher wages to address market shifts, especially for writers of streaming-only shows with shorter seasons, along with improved health care and pension coverage for its members.

SAG-AFTRA's strike is due to outdated contracts that do not address industry changes like streaming and AI and is already delaying projects such as Deadpool 3 and the fifth season of Stranger Things. The strikes also caused the Television Academy and Fox to announce that the Emmy Awards will be delayed until 2024.

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