Drew Barrymore Faces Backlash For Returning To Talk Show Amid WGA SAG-AFTRA Strike

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Actress turned talk show host Drew Barrymore announced today that her popular talk show is returning for a fourth season. The show is looking to continue shooting without its WGA affiliated writers amid the ongoing joint WGASAG-AFTRA Strike.

Barrymore made the announcement via Instagram today.


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Barrymore’s post was met with widespread criticism, as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike remains underway, with major studios still not finding an agreement with the two entertainment unions.

Why The WGA And SAG-AFTRA Are On Strike

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) represents thousands of screenwriters behind some of television and film’s biggest hits. May 2023 began a complete strike from countless writers nationwide, beginning with major productions in New York City and Los Angeles. The last WGA strike took place between 2007 and 2008, and impacted countless major television programs at the time.

The current strike is a result of a rapid pay decrease by 23% since the pandemic, as a result of both inflation and streaming services running shorter seasons. Additionally, several guild members revealed that their respective workplaces refused to impose regulations on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the writer’s room. Some tech entrepreneurs insist that AI can replace several types of writing careers, and writers are fighting back.

Among the many halted productions are “Saturday Night Live”, “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon”, “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” “The Daily Show,” “Abbott Elementary,” “Cobra Kai,” and “Yellowjackets.”


Months after the WGA went on strike, SAG-AFTRA joined them. The era of streaming services for television and film has not only changed the viewing experience for consumers, but the pay for actors, writers, directors, and crew members. SAG-AFTRA supports all of the WGA’s demands, and have several of their own. Actor turned U.S. President Ronald Reagan led the first joint SAG-AFTRA WGA strike in 1960.

Among the SAG-AFTRA demands are increased minimum pay rates, increased streaming residuals to match the rising inflation costs, and improved working conditions. Previously, many could rely on royalty payments from reruns. For streamers, this is no longer the case. Additionally, several major studios proposed the use of AI renderings of actors that are available for free use even after an actor’s death without the consent of the actors or their families.

Social Media Reactions

Amid the news of Barrymore’s choice to return to filming, two writers on strike attended a taping of the show in WGA t shirts. The pair of writers allege that they were kicked out of the taping for wearing the union representative clothing.

Later, Barrymore claimed that she was not aware of the WGA writers being kicked out of the taping. Her representative confirmed this information to Entertainment Weekly. Her writers continue to picket outside of her studio.


Barrymore, whose show has gained popularity for its emotionally charged and refreshingly honest interviews, continues to receive criticism, even from longtime fans of the actress turned host. Her empathetic approach to daytime television and views on mental health treatment attracted a wide audience of fans, many of whom are urging Barrymore to take back her decision so as to continue to support both of the unions.

The WGA has confirmed that “The Drew Barrymore Show” continuing to film mid-strike classifies as
“scabbing”, or violating the strike. However, Barrymore is technically not violating the SAG-AFTRA strike rules, thus can technically proceed sans writers if she so chooses.

Some joke that Barrymore must have forgotten about the strike, similarly to her character in the fan favorite “50 First Dates.”

Barrymore is yet to reverse her decision on the matter, or speak further on it at this time.

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