Actress and daytime talk show host Drew Barrymore has been making headlines over the past week, although not primarily for reasons concerning her alleged stalker. Despite the 2023 WGA strike continuing with no resolution yet at the time of writing, The Drew Barrymore Show was confirmed to return to television, and Barrymore has received a lot of criticism for the decision. Now, after days of commentary online about restarting the show amidst the strikes, she took to social media with a four-minute emotional response video.
After her initial statement about the choice to start The Drew Barrymore Show up again for the first time since the spring didn't exactly put an end to criticism, the host posted what appears to be a raw and emotional video response on Instagram. She started out the lengthy statement like this:
I believe there's nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay. 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. I know there's just nothing I can do that will make this okay for those it is not okay with. I full accept that. I fully understand that. There are so many reasons why this is so complex and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone. That's not who I am. I've been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them. I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions. I deeply apologize.
If you think that the repeated "I deeply apologize" and wanting to "take full responsibility" sounds like the beginning of Drew Barrymore revealing that she changed her mind about bringing The Drew Barrymore Show back for a fourth season before the strike ended, that's not the case.
While she went on to clarify that she doesn't "have a PR machine behind this" and she didn't intend to "polish this with bells and whistles and publicists and corporate rhetoric" or "hide behind people," she's still moving forward with the show amid the WGA writers strike. Barrymore continued:
There's a huge question of the why. Why am I doing this? Well, I certainly couldn't have expected this kind of attention, and we aren't gonna break rules and we are going to be in compliance. I wanted to do this because as I said this is bigger than me and there are other people's jobs on the line. And since launching live in a pandemic, I just wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times. And I weighed the scales and I thought if we could go on during a global pandemic and everything that the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us?
Barrymore's statement that she "couldn't have expected this kind of attention" comes after a summer of many shows going off the air due to the WGA strike and/or SAG-AFTRA strike. She quickly caught flak for the decision, which was followed shortly thereafter by news that Bill Maher intended to bring Real Time with Bill Maher back to HBO, and more daytime shows are reportedly in talks to come back soon as well.
The WGA's initial response to The Drew Barrymore Show returning was to clarify that the show would return without its writers since it is a WGA-covered and struck show, meaning that any writing for Barrymore's return would be in violation of strike rules. After Barrymore doubled down on saying that the return would be "in compliance," she said in the video:
So I want to just put one foot in front of the other and make a show that's there for people regardless of anything else that's happening in the world because that's when I think we all need something that wants to be there, being very realistic in very realistic times. So that is my why.
It remains to be seen if the buzz will die down without Drew Barrymore making any changes or if controversy will surround The Drew Barrymore Show until (and/or after) the WGA strike against the AMPTP is resolved. At this point, it appears that public backlash is not enough to motivate her to take her show into break again. If you want to see her whole statement for yourself, take a look:
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The projects that reportedly may return to television with new episodes despite the ongoing strikes include The Jennifer Hudson Show, Sherri, and The Talk, with those hosted by Jennifer Hudson and Sherri Shepherd set to return without their WGA writers until the strike ends. Other talks shows including The View and Live with Kelly and Mark have already been back in production and releasing new episodes. Rumors previously swirled that The View would be cancelled, but the ABC talk show returned with a new season this month.
Whether any of the newly returning shows will face backlash like The Drew Barrymore Show or Barrymore's just caught the most heat for being first is a question that has yet to be answered. For now, TV fans far and wide can just hope that the AMPTP and WGA can come to terms sooner rather than later with suitable terms for the writers.