Drew Barrymore reversed her decision to bring back her daytime talk show despite the Hollywood strikes after an onslaught of criticism, the actress and host announced on Sunday in an Instagram post.
The return of production for “The Drew Barrymore Show” drew picketers from the striking writers’ and actors’ unions, as taping resumed last Monday, and on Friday, Barrymore defended the decision in an emotional Instagram video, saying, “This is bigger than me.” The company that produces the show, CBS Media Ventures, echoed Barrymore’s resolution, citing more than 150 jobs that would be affected.
But on Friday night, Barrymore deleted the video, and on Sunday morning, she released a new statement changing course.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” the statement said. “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 our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”
In a statement on Sunday, CBS Media Ventures said the company supported Barrymore’s decision and understood “how complex and difficult this process has been for her.”
Barrymore is far from the only daytime talk show host returning during the strikes, but she has received the most criticism, perhaps in part because of her decision in May to bow out of hosting the MTV Movie and TV Awards in solidarity with striking writers.
The daytime juggernaut “The View,” for example, has been airing new episodes filmed without its unionized writers. Barrymore’s show had taking the same approach by producing a show that the production company said would be fully ad-libbed, without any staff members filling in for the production’s three striking writers.
Other talk shows, including “The Jennifer Hudson Show” and “The Talk,” have also been planning returns. Bill Maher’s weekly talk show on HBO has been as well, with the host defending his decision in a social media post by saying, “I’m not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much.”
Barrymore herself is a member of SAG-AFTRA, but as a talk-show host she is covered by a separate agreement called the Network Code, making it technically permissible for her to present the show during the strike.
Late-night shows have the same option, but thus far, many network hosts have decided not to take it. Instead, five of the big-name hosts — Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver — have started a podcast together, with proceeds going toward supporting their staffs.
Returning amid the strikes may look even less appealing to TV hosts after Barrymore’s ordeal. Within two days of her show’s resuming production, the National Book Foundation dropped her as the host of the National Books Awards. Her social media pages were filled with people urging her to walk back her decision to resume production, advice she heeded in less than a week.