Drew Barrymore Apologizes for Returning to Work Amidst Strikes

Drew Barrymore hosts her eponymous daytime talker from New York City.
Drew Barrymore hosts her eponymous daytime talker from New York City. (Image credit: CBS/'The Drew Barrymore Show')

Drew Barrymore, host and executive producer of CBS’ syndicated talker, The Drew Barrymore Show, took to Instagram on Friday to apologize for making the decision to return to production. That said, she did not say she planned on changing her mind about that decision — although a video posted with her apology was removed tonight after a backlash.

“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” Barrymore said in the video she posted on the social platform (and later removed). “I wanted to own a decision, so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation, and I would just take full responsibility for my actions.”

The Writers Guild of America is having none of it.

“The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA-covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers,” the WGA East posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) on September 10. “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.”

CBS Media Ventures, which produces and distributes Drew Barrymore, defended the decision. All daytime hosts, including Barrymore, are allowed to work under SAG-AFTRA’s “Network Code.” 

“As The Drew Barrymore Show returns with original episodes on Monday we are very mindful and sensitive to the complex circumstances surrounding the show’s return and we will be in full compliance with all our labor agreements and any strike rules,” a spokesperson for CMV said in a statement. “While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends. No one on our staff will fill a writing position. If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous, open and honest conversations to her viewers and that will continue. The show also moves forward with important consideration to our staff and crew comprised of over 150 people, as well as our loyal viewers. We fully support Drew and her entire team 100%.” 

Comments rebutting Barrymore and asking her not to return to production rapidly piled up on her Instagram post on Friday. 

“Babe, you know exactly what you can say and do. Stop production. Create funds to help your staff. Donate them to yourself! What you’re doing is prioritizing yourself and your people over the success and livelihoods of others. And now, anyone you bring on to your show will be considered a scab and will have THEIR careers jeopardized, too. This ain’t it, Drew,” wrote @tariq_raouf in one comment.

“Sometimes my son breathlessly apologizes for stuffing a Lego down the air conditioner vent and then continues to stuff Legos down the air conditioner vent,” wrote @bessbellkalb.

“There’s just SO much that is wrong with this. I’m gobsmacked. There’s nothing you can do?! You’re equating surviving a global pandemic to weathering striking writers?!! You weren’t expecting this level of attention?! From going back to work with your writers during a labor strike?” wrote @starleekine, who noted that she had picketed the show last week. 

Not all daytime talk shows use guild-affiliated writers: Disney’s Tamron Hall and Live with Kelly and Mark, Debmar-Mercury’s Sherri and NBCUniversal’s Karamo all operate without them. But Drew Barrymore is one of several syndicated shows that have had to wrestle with the decision of whether or not to return to production while the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are ongoing. 

Drew Barrymore is set to premiere its fourth season on Monday, September 18. Also premiering that day is Warner Bros. Discovery’s Jennifer Hudson, which the guild also considers to be a “struck show.” NBCUniversal’s Kelly Clarkson also uses WGA writers, but that show, which is in the midst of a move to New York City from Los Angeles, isn’t expected to come back until October and no announcement about its return has yet been made.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.