Back when the WGA strike became official (in early May), Drew Barrymore dropped out of hosting the MTV Movie and TV awards “in solidarity with the strike.” At the time, she added, “I have listened to the writers, and in order to truly respect them.” Now that the strike is entering its fifth month, however, Barrymore has decided that it’s time to bring back her daytime talk show, aptly titled The Drew Barrymore Show. Don’t look for the host to reprise her M3GAN impersonation or anything like that, though, because Drew plans to steer clear of covering any movies or TV in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA strike.
It’s all a bit confusing, but Drew explained on Instagram that she hadn’t planned on shutting down her show, given that it ended its season in late April, when the writers’ strike was not yet in motion. Now, she says that the show will return because “this is bigger than just me.” That could suggest that Drew is concerned about her staffers going without paychecks, although I could be reading into that. Meanwhile, Drew insists that the show will be compliant:
“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. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time.”
The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” is in violation of WGA strike rules.
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 10, 2023
Back during the 2007 WGA strike, multiple late-night series (including The Tonight Show and The Daily Show) came back “early,” albeit with “scriptless” shows, and David Letterman’s show came back after negotiating an independent contract to allow their writers to work.
It remains unclear whether Drew will be paying non-WGA writers (who decide to cross the picket lines), or if she plans on completely ad-libbing her monologue, but the show is now in essentially non-navigated territory, considering its usual subject matter. Drew won’t even be able to elaborate upon why she really thinks that her Scream character somehow survived, since she’s committed to not discussing movies and TV. She won’t be able to host guests in that realm either, so it remains a mystery on how the show will fill its time slot, but I guess we’ll find out when The Drew Barrymore Show returns on September 18 (although filming begins this week).