“I own this choice,” Barrymore said in her statement. “We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind.”
The talk show’s fourth season was originally confirmed by CBS last week, with the first episode set to air Sept. 18. According to the WGA, “The Drew Barrymore Show” employs three WGA writers, each of whom were out picketing Monday. Some 100 picketers were chanting “Drew The Right Thing” and “We Expect More From Drew Barry-More,” among other things.
Irate writers flooded social media with concern that Barrymore would bring back her show due to a contract with CBS without WGA scribes.
Cristina Kinon, one of the three writers on Barrymore’s show, spent Monday picketing outside CBS.
“The reality is that, you know, you stand with the unions or you don’t,” Kinon said later in a phone interview. “And everybody is allowed to make that decision for herself. I know that there’s a lot that goes into it, especially when your name is on a show and you’re in charge of a lot of people and you have to make the decision that feels right for you.
“For her it was to go back,” she said. “For the writers it’s to stand with our union because we believe in what we’re striking for and we believe we deserve a fair deal.”
Kinon has worked for Barrymore’s show since its pilot episode.
The WGA plans to picket the show continuously until or unless it stops filming.
Hollywood writers began striking in May when the Writers Guild of America, a union representing Hollywood writers, couldn’t reach a deal with studios and producers for better pay and protections against artificial intelligence, amid other asks. Actors began their own strike in July over similar concerns, including better residuals from streaming service companies.
Some social media users were calling Barrymore a “scab” for allowing her show to be taped amid the strike.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said in a statement that the 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.”
The WGA East’s Instagram account said Barrymore’s 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 rules.”
Two Barrymore fans who went to the taping Monday were asked to leave the show, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Dominic Turiczek and Cassidy Carter told THR that they were told to take off WGA support pins they received from picketers for security reasons. But after Turiczek entered the studio space with his pin still attached, they were both asked to leave. Carter and Turiczek then joined the picket lines outside the show while wearing WGA shirts, THR reported.
“It really has changed my perspective on her and the show in general. I’ve been completely alarmed and disheartened by this whole process,” Carter told THR.
“Yes, you’re contractually obligated, but you’re also Drew Barrymore,” wrote David Slack, a board member of WGA West. “You have a lot of influence and power. You stood with the writers in the first weeks of our strike. Stand with us now.”
Barrymore, whose representatives did not return a request for comment, acknowledged in her social media post that there’s conflicted feelings over her decision to return since she previously stepped down from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards as a way to support the strike back in May.
“Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time,” she wrote. “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.”
A spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures said the show “will not be performing any writing work covered by the WGA strike.” Instead, like “The View” is already doing, the network will produce the show without using any written material.
“I am so excited to see what Drew has in store for season four,” said Wendy McMahon, president and CEO of CBS Media Ventures. “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.”
Barrymore’s show is not the only talk show that’s proceeding without writers. “The View” never stopped airing, even though its writers walked. And about a month ago, “Jeopardy!” announced that it would be returning with recycled questions for a 40th season.