Writers Picket The Drew Barrymore Show Amid Hollywood Strikes
Over 100 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) gathered outside the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City to picket a taping of The Drew Barrymore Show on Monday. The protest was in response to the show’s decision to resume production amidst the ongoing dual Hollywood strikes.
The WGA’s eastern branch had previously announced plans to picket outside the studio on the same day that Drew Barrymore, the show’s host, released a statement on social media explaining her choice to return during the strike. However, the WGA confirmed that all three writers from The Drew Barrymore Show participated in the guild action.
Barrymore expressed understanding for those who wanted to return to work to ensure payment for the staff and crew. However, she acknowledged that the strike was about more than just those three writers, emphasizing that it was a larger matter of labor rights and unions fighting for fair deals. Despite her statement, the WGA declared that any writing on the show would be a violation of their strike rules.
During the taping, two audience members wearing WGA buttons were removed from the studio, leading to allegations of verbal assault by the show’s crew. The spokesperson for The Drew Barrymore Show confirmed that due to heightened security concerns, the two audience members were not permitted to attend the taping and that the show’s production team would reach out to offer them new tickets.
The return of The Drew Barrymore Show without its writers has raised questions about how the show will proceed without any writing. While CBS Media Ventures, the show’s producer, claimed that its on-camera talent would not be performing any writing work covered by the strike, industry experts remain skeptical. Travis Knox, an associate professor of producing at Chapman University, expressed doubt that the show could operate without some level of writing. He speculated that the show may have hired non-WGA writers or used internal resources to bypass the strike.
The View, another struck show, has also continued production, albeit with two WGA writers who have not been replaced since the strike began. Other daytime talk shows, such as Tamron Hall and Live With Kelly and Mark, are not covered by the WGA and have proceeded as usual.
As the controversy surrounding The Drew Barrymore Show unfolds, it sheds light on the larger issues at hand, including the demands for higher pay, extended benefits, and protections against technology in the streaming and AI era. The WGA is calling upon the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to address these concerns.
While the fourth season of The Drew Barrymore Show is scheduled to premiere on September 18, the absence of Hollywood actors on the guest list signifies their solidarity with the ongoing strikes. As the strike continues, the focus remains on the negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP, with writers and industry professionals hoping for a fair resolution that addresses their concerns.