The Drew Barrymore Show is preparing to make its return, although three WGA writers have decided not to rejoin the show.
Barrymore faced controversy last month when she initially announced that her daytime talk show would begin its fourth season without its striking writers. However, a week later, in response to backlash and some guest cancellations, she decided to reverse course and postponed the show’s return until the WGA strike was over.
Now that the WGA strike has concluded, the show is scheduled to return on October 16th. However, sources indicate that the writers, Chelsea White, Cristina Kinon, and Liz Koe, have chosen not to accept the offer to return with the show. The production is currently in the process of interviewing new writers and will ensure that it complies with the guild’s regulations.
Drew Barrymore’s three WGA writers have declined to return to her daytime talk show after she attempted to bring it back while the writers strike was still happening. pic.twitter.com/uGkcQB8O7z
— Pop Base (@PopBase) October 4, 2023
Regarding White, Kinon, and Koe, all three were prominently involved in the protest during the show’s initial attempt to resume production in mid-September. These three women, who held the position of co-head writer and had been part of the series since its first season, actively participated in picketing outside the show’s Manhattan studio on several occasions. Their signs bore messages such as “Honk if you [love] union labor” or “Drew’s News: Strikes.”
On September 11, which marked the show’s first day back in production, they informed THR that they learned about Drew’s return not through their superiors or colleagues, but rather via social media posts promoting audience ticket giveaways. “It is a bummer to hear that the show is going back because it sends a message that union writers are not valuable,” White expressed to The Hollywood Reporter that morning. Kinon chimed in, saying, “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 questioned at that time if they intended to return to the show after the strike was resolved, White responded with a reserved “Maybe no comment.”
Barrymore’s initial choice to resume her show without her writing team, although contentious, did not breach SAG-AFTRA regulations. As clarified by a SAG-AFTRA representative during that period, “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.” Nevertheless, Barrymore defended her decision to relaunch her show in an infamous social media post on September 10, which garnered significant criticism.
“I own this choice,” she stated during that period, reminding her large fan base that she had made a completely different choice in May when she withdrew from her hosting role at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in support of the WGA strike. On that night, Barrymore received the award for best host, and she delivered a pre-recorded acceptance speech in which she gave special recognition to White, Kinon, and Koe, referring to them as “our amazing, amazing writers.” She continued by saying, “this is definitely for them and every single person who makes this show.” (The three have also earned two Emmy nominations for their writing contributions to the show.)
Following significant backlash, Barrymore provided an update to her fans on September 17. She stated, “I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” She further added, “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.”
A spokesperson for the show, as well as White, Kinon, and Koe, chose not to provide comments for this story.