CBS Media Ventures, the producer of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” defended the daytime talk show’s decision to resume production amid the ongoing WGA strike, claiming that “the season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends.”
“As ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ returns with original episodes on Monday we are very mindful and sensitive to the complex circumstances surrounding the show’s return and we will be in full compliance with all our labor agreements and any strike rules,” a spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures said in a statement to TheWrap. “Our host works under a separate agreement with SAG-AFTRA (“The Network Code”) that allows Drew and other daytime hosts to continue hosting the show.
Noting that the daytime talker has been largely unscripted from the start, the spokesperson added that “no one on our staff will fill a writing position.”
“If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous, open and honest conversations to her viewers and that will continue,” the statement read. “The show also moves forward with important consideration to our staff and crew comprised of over 150 people, as well as our loyal viewers. We fully support Drew and her entire team 100%.”
The statement comes shortly after Barrymore addressed the backlash of her decision to return to production during the labor dispute, which she first shared on social media on Sept. 10. In an emotional video shared to Instagram on Friday, the talk show host apologized to those impacted by her actions and stated that she stood by her decision, saying “there are so many reasons why this is so complex.”
“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,” she said in the video. “I don’t exactly know what to say because sometimes when things are so tough, it’s hard to make decisions from that place. So all I can say is that I wanted to accept responsibility.”
Barrymore also clarified she does “not have a PR machine behind” her amid the decision to resume the talk show.
“I didn’t want to hide behind people so I won’t, and I won’t polish this with bells and whistles and publicists and corporate rhetoric,” she said. “I’ll just stand out there and accept and be responsible.”
After Barrymore first announced the talk show would be headed back into production last Sunday, WGA members picketed outside of New York City’s CBS Broadcast Studios beginning Monday morning. Controversy continued to follow the show as two audience members told TheWrap they were kicked out of the taping for wearing WGA buttons.
Following the incident, a spokesperson for the show said they “regret[ed]” that the fans were barred from the taping, and clarified that Barrymore was not aware of their removal.
“It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings,” a spokesperson for the show told TheWrap at the time. “Due to heightened security concerns today, we regret that two audience members were not permitted to attend or were not allowed access. Drew was completely unaware of the incident and we are in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets.”