The show will no longer go on as scheduled for Drew Barrymore after all.
The Drew Barrymore Show will not premiere this week as previously stated and has been put on pause. The actress announced the news Sept. 17, reserving her decision to bring the program back amid ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA. Scores of members and supporters of both unions picketed her series last week after it began taping a new episode, while many took to social media to criticize Barrymore over her choice to resume production.
"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 Instagram Sept. 17. "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. We really tried to find out way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon."
The talk show host's statement received a largely positive response, including from the Writers Guild of America, East. The union commented, "Thank you Drew" and also shared her post on their own page.
CBS Media Ventures, which distributes The Drew Barrymore Show, told The New York Times in Sept. 17 statement that the company supported the actress' decision and understood "how complex and difficult this process has been for her."
Meanwhile, reruns of The Drew Barrymore Show will air for the foreseeable future, a person with knowledge of the matter told Variety, while episodes that were taped last week when the show went back into production will not be broadcast.
The WGA went on strike in May after failed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Actor's union SAG-AFTRA joined them on the picket lines two months later. On Sept. 10, Barrymore wrote on social media that her daytime talk show will return for season four Sept. 18, noting that the program be in "compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind."
The WGA spoke out against the decision. "The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers," the union tweeted the same day. "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."
In addition to picketing and social media backlash, Barrymore's decision also spurred the National Book Awards to rescind her invitation to host its upcoming annual award ceremony.
On Sept. 15, Barrymore posted and later, following more social media criticism, deleted an emotional video statement to Instagram, in which she stated she was standing behind her decision to return to her talk show. "I wanted to own a decision so it wasn't a PR-protected situation and I would just take full responsibility for my actions," she said. "I know there is just nothing I can do that will make this OK to those that it is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that."
She added, "I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions."