“The Drew Barrymore Show” is returning to TV post-strike, but the same can’t be said for its head writers.
The daytime talk show announced Wednesday its fourth season will premiere Oct. 16 — an announcement coming just under a month after Barrymore was heavily criticized for planning a Sept. 18 return while the Writers Guild of America was still striking, then postponed the date a week later.
But after the writer’s strike was lifted on Sept. 27, all three of the show’s co-headwriters — Cristina Kinon, Chelsea White and Liz Koe — declined offers to return to the show, production sources told multiple outlets. Now production is interviewing replacement writers and will be in compliance with the guild’s new rules.
The three writers had been on the picket lines with WGA since it began its strike in May, fighting for improved compensation, protection from AI and other issues.
Barrymore had initially been seen as someone standing in solidarity with striking groups, marked by her decision to step down as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in May.
But it became a different picture when Barrymore announced her return to air without her striking writers. Guild members labeled her a “scab” — a term for a person taking work while a union is on a strike — and the picket line even moved outside of her show’s Manhattan studio.
The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news of the writers’ declining to return, said Kinon, White and Koe had joined the strikes outside the studio on multiple days with signs that read “Drew’s News: Strikes” among other phrases.
Barrymore defended the decision in a Sept. 10 social media post, saying “I own this choice.”
But nonetheless, she backtracked the sentiment a week later, saying, “I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over. 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.”