Actress turned television host Drew Barrymore recently announced that her popular “The Drew Barrymore Show” would return to filming without writers amid the WGA strike. A week later, the WGA reached a deal with the AMTP, marking the end of a historic strike. Now, the head writers Barrymore scabbed against have vowed to not return to the production post-strike.
The writers of ‘THE DREW BARRYMORE SHOW’ have declined to return to the series after Drew Barrymore’s attempt to be a scab and continue her show without them.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) October 4, 2023
The host previously shared a lengthy Instagram post about how her popular talk show is returning for a fourth season. The show was looking to continue shooting without its WGA affiliated writers amid the then ongoing joint WGA–SAG-AFTRA Strike. The post was met with widespread criticism, as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike remained underway at the time. Barrymore later removed the post and issued a tearful apology.
Social Media Reactions To Barrymore’s Decision
Many supported the writers’ decision not to return to the production. Commentary surrounding Barrymore’s initial decision leaned negative, with plenty feeling that she was out of touch with her crew and writers and their needs.
She thought she could do the show without them and now they don’t want to come back pic.twitter.com/SMjBZi7oxG
— zaxbys traditional wing meal (@missed_3pointer) October 4, 2023
Couldn’t write a better ending
— Matt (@Matt_2521) October 4, 2023
Writers continue to claim that they would have returned had Barrymore simply waited until the strike was officially over.
If she had waited in solidarity, the writers would have returned the love a hundred times over.
— Mani Artist (@Mani_Haider_W) October 4, 2023
Why The Unions Went 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 recent 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.
The WGA reached a deal with the AMTP in September, effectively ending their half of the strike. The end of the WGA strike marks the approval for talk shows to return to the air, but the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike continues to halt a number of major film and television projects.
Barrymore is yet to comment on the head writers’ decision.