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Drew Barrymore Announces Talk Show Return Amid Strikes, Says It Will Comply With WGA and SAG Strike Rules: “I Own This Choice”

The Drew Barrymore Show will be returning to TV screens sooner than expected amid the writers and actors strikes, even as the WGA says it will picket the show’s studios Monday and Tuesday as a result.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Drew Barrymore announced that her daytime talk show will begin its fourth season soon, in accordance with the rules of the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes. However, a spokesperson for the Writers Guild told The Hollywood Reporter that Drew is a struck show, and union members are set to picket outside of Barrymore’s studios Monday and Tuesday in New York City.

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“It has stayed off the air since the strike began on May 2nd but has now (unfortunately) decided to return without its writers,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “The Guild has, and will continue to, picket any struck show that continues production for the duration of the strike.”

Drew plans to premiere its fourth season Sept. 18. It’s understood that Drew is a signatory to WGA and that the show will be produced without literary material, similar to ABC’s The View.

The Drew Barrymore Show will not be performing any writing work covered by the WGA strike,” a CBS Media Ventures spokesperson told THR.

Barrymore began her Instagram post by referring to her decision to walk away from hosting the MTV Film and TV Awards in May, in solidarity with the writers who had just gone on strike.

“It had a direct conflict with what the strike was dealing with which was studios, streamers, film, and television,” she wrote in the post and caption. “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.”

She pointed out that season three of her show had wrapped prior to the strike, so they never had to shut it down. But she is making another conscious choice now to return to work amid both the writers and actors strikes because the show is “bigger than just me.”

“I own this choice,” Barrymore continued. “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. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time.”

The host explained her desire to return to the talk show stemmed from wanting to demonstrate the value of the work writers do and provide entertainment for viewers at a difficult time.

“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,” she concluded. “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.”

Per WGA strike rules, most daytime talk shows are allowed to continue to run because a lot of them do not employ writers who are a part of the union. Two exceptions include The Drew Barrymore Show and The Talk, which went dark at the start of the strike and continues to play reruns, as do the late-night talk shows. Other daytime shows that also are airing originals include Tamron Hall and Live With Kelly and Mark.

While Drew will begin its new season, contrary to the WGA, actors who appear as guests will have to abide by SAG-AFTRA strike rules, which include not discussing or promoting any struck work.

In a statement released Monday, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said Barrymore’s show “is produced under the Network Television Code which is a separate contract and is not struck. It is permissible work and Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.”

According to a press release, the new season will feature a new face, celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton, who’ll join the show’s team of lifestyle experts, including news co-anchor Ross Mathews, interior designer Mikel Welch, chef Pilar Valdes and sustainable living guru Danny Seo. The show also will launch a new segment, “Take Care Everywhere,” with The Menopause Bootcamp founder Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, and bring back other segments including Drew-Gooders, Design by Drew and Cookbook Club.

“I am so excited to see what Drew has in store for season four,” said Wendy McMahon, president and CEO of CBS News and Stations and CBS Media Ventures. “From launching during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to successfully pivoting to a groundbreaking half-hour format, this show has demonstrated spectacular resilience and creative agility on its journey to becoming the fastest-growing show in daytime. We couldn’t have a better partner in Drew Barrymore and look forward to bringing our fans and station clients alike new episodes this fall.”

Read Barrymore’s full post below.

Kimberly Nordyke contributed to this report.

Sept. 10, 3:46 p.m.: Updated to add statement from Wendy McMahon.

Sept. 11, 10:19 a.m.: Updated to add the SAG-AFTRA statement about Barrymore’s show.

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