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Drew Barrymore announces her talk show will not return until writers' strike ends after backlash

Drew Barrymore announces her talk show will not return until writers' strike ends after backlash

Drew Barrymore is officially hitting "pause" on production of her daytime talk show.

After days of enduring backlash surrounding her decision to resume The Drew Barrymore Show amid the writers' and actors' strikes, the host announced that she will no longer move forward with new episodes until the strikes end.

"I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show's premiere until the strike is over," Barrymore wrote on social media Sunday. "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."

She added, "We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon."

Barrymore announced plans last week for her Daytime Emmy–winning show to resume production without its three Writers Guild of America writers who, along with the rest of their union, have been on strike since May, demanding higher wages, clearer contract provisions, and more.

The star quickly became the center of controversy, earning criticism from striking members of the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), in addition to others of the industry. Following her decision, the National Book Foundation also rescinded its invitation for Barrymore to host its annual awards event.

Her show resumed filming last week as picketers protested the choice outside the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. Some audience members said they were escorted out of tapings for wearing WGA-branded pins. A spokesperson for the show told EW in a statement that Barrymore was "completely unaware of the incident" and that their team is "in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets."

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19: Drew Barrymore attends the 2023 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor presentation at The Kennedy Center on March 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19: Drew Barrymore attends the 2023 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor presentation at The Kennedy Center on March 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Taylor Hill/WireImage Drew Barrymore

Barrymore initially defended her decision in a now-removed video she posted on Friday, explaining, "This is bigger than me and there other peoples' jobs on the line."

She continued, "I weighed the scales and I thought if we could go on during a global pandemic and everything that the world experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us? I just wanted to just put one foot in front of the other and make a show that's there for people regardless of anything else that's happening in the world."

Barrymore, a member of SAG-AFTRA, insisted that the show's return was "in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind," according to strike rules. When season 4 was first announced, a CBS spokesperson confirmed to EW that the series would "not be performing any writing work covered by the WGA strike."

While Barrymore herself was not in violation as the series' host — daytime talk shows fall under a separate contract, the Network Television Code contract — resuming production meant that it left its writers behind. As the WGA-East announced on social media, "The [Drew Barrymore Show] is a WGA-covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers… Any writing on The Drew Barrymore Show is in violation of WGA strike rules."

Cristina Kinon, a writer for the show, told The Daily Beast that she was disappointed to see Barrymore resume production on the series without its writing team. "It is frustrating," she said, "because it will prolong the strike, and we just want it to end."

When news broke that the series was coming back for a fourth season, CBS issued a statement to EW. "While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends," it read in part. "No one on our staff will fill a writing position. If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous, open, and honest conversations to her viewers, and that will continue. The show also moves forward with important consideration to our staff and crew comprised of over 150 people, as well as our loyal viewers. We fully support Drew and her entire team 100 percent."

The show was set to return with new episodes on Monday, Sept. 18.

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