The fallout of Drew Barrymore resuming production on “The Drew Barrymore Show” amid the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Following Barrymore’s decision to resume production of her show, the National Book Foundation announced on Tuesday (Sept. 12) that the organization is rescinding its invitation to Barrymore to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony (see below):
An update on the host of the 2023 National Book Awards. pic.twitter.com/aa5aLh0FIU
— National Book Foundation (@nationalbook) September 12, 2023
Drew Barrymore Dropped from The National Book Awards Ceremony After Resuming Talk Show During Strike
It looks like the foundation is standing in solidarity with the striking WGA writers. The National Book Foundation’s statement reads, “In light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.” It continues, “Our commitment is to ensure that the focus of the awards remains on celebrating writers and books, and we are grateful to Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation.”
Multiple writers and WGA supporters applauded the National Book Foundation’s decision. Strike Captain, writer, and WGA member Rachel Lewis (“Raven’s Home,” “Odd Squad,”) wrote on X, “Thank you for standing with writers! #WGAstrong” Also, “The Changeling” author Victor LaValle posted, “Well done,” in response to the NBF’s announcement.
Barrymore recently announced her decision to resume filming on the show with an announcement on her official Instagram on Sunday (Sept. 10). New episodes started filming this week at CBS Studios and will begin airing again on the network on Monday, September 18. When the “Charlie’s Angels” and “The Wedding Singer” star announced the news, she stated that the show would not utilize WGA writers and would comply with the ongoing WGA rules, along with the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, which is also striking against the AMPTP.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, a SAG-AFTRA rep stated that Barrymore’s resuming her hosting duties for her talk show is permissible work as far as their union goes since the show is produced under the Network Television Code, and it’s a separate contract that is not currently struck. As stated by the SAG-AFTRA rep, “It is permissible work and Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.”
However, while Barrymore’s hosting might be allowed under the SAG-AFTRA rules, many WGA members are arguing that the show, which normally employs WGA writers, resuming production goes against the rules and spirit of the WGA strike since Barrymore will essentially be performing the work normally tasked to her writing staff. THR also reports that writers were picketing outside CBS Studios while the show resumed filming, including one of the show’s own staff writers, Chelsea White.
White also expressed her disappointment to THR that Barrymore decided to resume filming. She informed THR, “It is a bummer to hear that the show is going back because it sends a message that union writers are not valuable.” She added, “And it goes directly against what the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, all the unions are trying to band together to stand up against the greedy studios.”
As reported by The Blast, two audience members were thrown out of a Monday taping of “The Drew Barrymore” show for supporting the WGA and wearing “Writers Guild On Strike” pins. One of the audience members, Dominick Turiczek, said on social media regarding the incident, “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!” He continued, “#DrewTheRightThing So we took shirts and joined. F*** that.”
A representative for the show later shared “regret” over the incident and how was handled to PEOPLE citing “heightened security concerns” and that the show was “in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets.”
In her Sunday statement on Instagram, Barrymore noted that her decision to bring back the show was due to the production being “bigger than just me.” The “50 First Dates” star argued, “Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real-time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience.” The host and actress went on, “I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air. And so I take a step forward to start season 4 once again with an astute humility.”
Either way, the National Book Foundation will be moving forward with its 2023 awards ceremony without Barrymore as the host. The award ceremony is scheduled for November 15, with nominations to be revealed on October 3. Barrymore was originally scheduled to share the stage at the November award ceremony with none other than Oprah Winfrey, who was going to deliver remarks during the show as the ceremony’s special guest.