Actress Drew Barrymore is resuming her talk show and plans to start filming the new season on Monday, despite her show’s writers on strike and she initially expressed her solidarity with the Hollywood writers when they went on hold in May .
In a long Instagram post on SundayBarrymore claimed she made the decision to restart the show “in accordance with not discussing or promoting films and television shows that are punished in any way,” referring to a different but related strike by Hollywood actors on SAG-AFTRA. Under the rules of this strike, actors who are members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are, in most cases, barred from promoting their upcoming films and television shows, such as talk show appearances.
However, the writers on Barrymore’s show are members of the Writers Guild of America East and West, who are also currently on strike. According to the union, any writing on the show, such as introductions, monologues, sketches and questions to the show’s guests, would violate the WGA’s strike rules because it would replace the work of union members. (HuffPost’s unionized employees are also members of the WGA East, but are not participating in the film and television strike.)
“‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ is a WGA-covered show that is scheduled to return without its writers,” the WGA East said in a statement Sunday. “The Guild has and will continue to strike shows produced during the strike. Any writing on The Drew Barrymore Show is against WGA strike rules.”
Asked Monday who is now writing for the show and whether the show now uses non-union or “scab” writers, a spokesperson for CBS, which distributes the show, told HuffPost: “‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ “It will not be.” Performing paperwork covered by the WGA strike.”
In her statementBarrymore referred to her decision in May to step down as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity with striking writers.
At the time, Barrymore said: “I have listened to the writers, and to truly respect them, I will be refraining from broadcasting the live broadcast of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity with the strike.” Everything we celebrate and honor in films and television , arose from their creation.”
But on Sunday she said the decision to continue her show was different.
“I decided to walk away from the MTV, Film and Television Awards because I was the presenter and there was a direct conflict with what the strike was about, namely studios, streamers, film and television. It was also the first week of the strike and so I did what I thought was appropriate at the time to show solidarity with the writers. And just to be clear, our talk show actually ended on April 20th, so we never had to end the show. However, I am also making the decision to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, which may have my name on it, but this is bigger than just me.”
She added that she would approach the new season, which premieres September 18, “with astute humility” – despite the prospect of resuming her show during two strikes that have drawn attention to unequal working conditions in film and television.
“I own this choice. We are committed not to discuss or promote films and television shows that attack in any way. We launched live in a global pandemic. “Our show was designed for sensitive times and only works through what the real world is going through in real time,” Barrymore continued. “I want to be there to convey what authors do so well, to bring us together or to help us understand the human experience. I hope for a solution as quickly as possible for everyone. We have overcome difficult times since we first came on the air. And so I take a step forward to begin Season 4 once again with astute humility.”
WGA members demonstrate ahead of taping of the show Monday morning in New York. Many also criticized Barrymore on social media, saying her decision to bring her show back without the writers was disappointing and urging her to reconsider. Several suggested that Barrymore who has been among Hollywoods highest paid actorscould probably afford to pay her show’s staff while they’re out of work due to the strikes rather than putting them in the position of crossing a picket line.
“The Drew Barrymore Show” is the latest, but perhaps most high-profile, show to find itself in trouble for returning despite the strikes. ABC’s The View continues to air new episodes while writers go on strike. Members of the WGA demonstrated outside the show’s New York studio and plan to do so again this week.
“Danger!” — whose authors are WGA members — is also set to return this week. The show plans to use recycled or previously written clues.
Some shows have resorted to hiring scab writers, such as the long-running daytime soap “General Hospital.” According to one of the show’s striking WGA writers, the show began using scab writers in July.