Around 15 picketers gathered outside CBS Studios in New York on Monday morning to protest Drew Barrymore’s decision to bring back her eponymous daytime talk show amid the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. “The Drew Barrymore Show” is set to return Sept. 18.
While Barrymore is not technically violating SAG-AFTRA rules as the host of the show (guild contracts for talk shows, game shows, variety shows and soap operas was renewed and ratified in 2022), some WGA members believe that whether it’s in violation against the strike is “still in dispute” and could be at least considered a “moral violation.”
Jonathan Bines, a writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” picketing in front of CBS, says that it would be hard to imagine a new iteration of the show that doesn’t, in some form, employ the task of writing or the ideas of prior WGA writers.
“I know that writing takes place in the sense that ideas are tossed around, stuff that the producers tell the host that they might do with this or that host, which is adjacent to the work that writers do, so it’s a gray area for sure,” Bines tells Variety. “It feels as if that would qualify as a writing task that constitutes struck work. I’m not saying it is struck work, but it’s something they would have to decide.”
According to a statement from SAG-AFTRA, Barrymore is not violating SAG-AFTRA rules as the host of the show. The statement reads: “‘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.”
Meanwhile, X/Twitter user Dominic Turiczek took to social media to document being “kicked out” of today’s “Drew Barrymore Show” taping.
“Went to @DrewBarrymoreTV after winning tickets, unaware of the #WGA strike. We took pins & went in, got kicked out, & verbally assaulted by @DrewBarrymore ’s crew. It’s clear they don’t support #WGAStrong, writers or fans! #DrewTheRightThing So we took shirts and joined. Fuck that,” Turiczek wrote.
“We knew about the #WGA strike, just not that they were picketing at Drew’s show. We were unaware until inside, that her show had WGA writers, thus crossing picket lines by starting again. We won the tickets last minute and didn’t do enough research, clearly,” the message continued.
In a statement to Variety, a “Drew Barrymore Show” spokesperson addressed the booted audience members.
“It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Additional reporting by Jennifer Maas.
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