Drew Barrymore Show: Here's why writers refuse to return as WGA strike ends - Hindustan Times

Here's why Drew Barrymore Show writers refuse to return despite WGA strike ending

ByVedanth Shinde
Oct 05, 2023 04:50 PM IST

Drew Barrymore's talk show faces trouble as three WGA members decline to return after the strike ends

The Drew Barrymore Show may just be in serious trouble ahead of its premiere. As the show sets a date for its upcoming return, three writers from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have refused to come back after the strike ends.

Writer Exodus: Drew Barrymore Show Faces Staff Departures After WGA Strike. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)(Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Writer Exodus: Drew Barrymore Show Faces Staff Departures After WGA Strike. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)(Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Last month, Drew faced heavy criticism for announcing that her daytime talk show would begin its fourth season without the striking writers. However, a week later, after experiencing backlash and guest cancellations, she changed her decision, postponing the show's return till the WGA strike ended.

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ALSO READ: Drew Barrymore posts tearful apology for restarting TV show amid strike, deletes it later: ‘I take full responsibility’

Fast forward to today, with the WGA strike over, the show is scheduled to return on October 16. However, three writers - Cristina Kinon, Liz Koe, and Chelsea White are refusing to return. The production is currently recruiting new writers to ensure compliance with the guild's regulations.

During the show's initial return to production in mid-September, Chelsea, Cristina, and Liz were actively protesting outside Drew's Manhattan studio. They held signs that read "Honk if you [love] union labor" and "Drew's News: Strikes."

On September 11, they expressed their disappointment at not hearing about Drew's return from their boss or colleagues but through audience ticket giveaways on social media. Chelsea stated, “It is a bummer to hear that the show is going back because it sends a message that union writers are not valuable."

Cristina added, “I understand that everybody has to do what they feel is best for them. For me and the WGA writers on the show, it’s important for us to stick with our union. We deserve a fair contract, so we are here today outside."

When asked if they intended to return to the show after the strike was resolved, Chelsea responded with a simple "maybe no comment."

However, Drew's decision to continue the show without her writing staff did not violate SAG-AFTRA rules. According to a SAG-AFTRA representative, “The Drew Barrymore 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.”

ALSO READ: Drew Barrymore halts her TV show after backlash during ongoing strike: ‘Deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt’

Nevertheless, Drew defended her decision in a controversial social media post on September 10, acknowledging that she had made a different choice in May when she stepped down from her hosting duties at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in support of the WGA.

She even won the award for Best Host that evening and dedicated it to her "amazing, amazing writers"—Chelsea, Cristina, and Liz, who have also received two Emmy nominations for their writing contributions to the show.

In response to the constant criticism, Drew updated her fans on September 17, announcing that she would postpone the show's premiere until after the strike had concluded.

Barrymore expressed her apologies to anyone she hurt and acknowledged the incredible team that has worked alongside her. A spokesperson for the show, as well as Chelsea, Cristina, and Liz, refused to comment further on this matter.

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