Drew Barrymore’s WGA writers decide not to return to her show

When last we checked in with The Drew Barrymore Show — and by that I don’t mean her talk show, I mean the series of blundered PR moves she’s been performing for us since mid September — the topic was how production was likely to resume in October thanks to the end of the writers strike, but it will still be awhile until people forget about her scabby decisions. A quick recap for those who haven’t been tuning in: Drew announced she was bringing her show back amid the WGA strike despite having union writers on staff, Drew’s show crew kicked out two audience members for wearing WGA pins to a taping, Drew doubled down on her decision to return, Drew relented and put production on hold until the end of the strike. And all that happened in one week! When the WGA strike ended I suggested Drew have her union writers on as guests as a way to make a teachable moment out of her mistakes. I don’t think that will be happening, as the latest story in The Drew Barrymore Show is that the union writers, three women who had been with the show from the beginning, have decided not to return to their roles of Co-Head Writers. Plot twist!

The writers say thank u, next: But with the WGA strike now over, the show is set to come back Oct. 16, and those writers — Chelsea White, Cristina Kinon and Liz Koe — have declined an offer to return with it, according to sources. The production is now interviewing new writers and will be in compliance with the guild. As for White, Kinon and Koe, all three were visible and vocal in their protest during the show’s initial return to production in mid-September. The trio of women, who shared the title co-head writer and have been with the series since season one, could be seen picketing outside of Drew’s Manhattan studio on multiple days, with signs that read, “Honk if you [love] union labor” or “Drew’s News: Strikes.”

Drew didn’t even tell them the show was returning mid-strike: On Sept. 11, which was the show’s first day back in production, they told THR that they’d found out that Drew was returning, not from their boss or colleagues, but rather via audience ticket giveaways that had been posted on social media. “It is a bummer to hear that the show is going back because it sends a message that union writers are not valuable,” White told THR that morning. Kinon added: “I understand that everybody has to do what they feel is best for them. For me and the WGA writers on the show, it’s important for us to stick with our union. We deserve a fair contract, so we are here today outside.” Asked at that time whether they planned to return to the show once the strike was resolved, White simply said: “Maybe no comment.”

Another (completely irrelevant) reminder that Drew didn’t break SAG-AFTRA rules: While controversial, Barrymore’s initial decision to return without her writing staff did not violate SAG-AFTRA rules. As a SAG-AFTRA rep stated at the time, “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 rule.” Nevertheless, Barrymore preemptively defended the decision to bring her show back in a now infamous Sept. 10 social media post, which quickly made her a target.

This has not aged well: “I own this choice,” she wrote at the time, reminding her legions of fans that she had made a very different choice back in May, when she bowed out of her hosting duties at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in solidarity with the WGA. Barrymore ended up winning best host that evening, for which she submitted a prerecorded acceptance speech in which she name-checked White, Kinon and Koe, whom she called “our amazing, amazing writers.” She added, “this is definitely for them and every single person who makes this show.” (The three have also earned two Emmy nominations for their writing contributions to the show.)

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Wow. It would have been bad enough for Drew with the simple headline that the writers are leaving, but there are so many juicy details in here that make it even worse. I love it! What have we learned here? Not only was Drew a scab in bringing back her show amid the WGA strike, she didn’t even have the decency to tell her WGA writers what she was doing! For a period of time, the three lead writers for The Drew Barrymore Show were picketing The Drew Barrymore Show. When these three writers visit Drew at Christmas as ghosts they will be chanting her MTV Movie and TV Award acceptance speech: “Our amazing, amazing writers. This is definitely for them…”

And for the umpteenth time, the SAG-AFTRA strike rules mean nothing here!! Drew did not break SAG-AFTRA rules because her contract as host is different from the contract currently in dispute. The strike rules she broke were with the WGA, because she resumed production despite having WGA members on staff (and not really just on staff, they were the Co-Head writers as well as the only credited writers since 2021, per IMDB). Hey producers, you can’t fool us with this “but look over there!” tactic.

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26 Responses to “Drew Barrymore’s WGA writers decide not to return to her show”

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  1. The karma bus was quick to strike. FAFO

  2. ML says:

    Since Drew tried to get back on air during a strike while arguing that soooo many people depended on it and Drew was going to own the decision to help out her show or something, I am very curious as to what she offered these three women when the strike was resolved. Beyond her not informing them about returning, was Drew unkind in her job offer as well?

  3. hangonamin says:

    this outcome practically wrote itself…

  4. M says:

    I tried to watch her show a few times. It’s not for me. That’s the nicest thing I can say.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Yeah, I don’t get the hype surrounding it.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        I don’t get the hype surrounding her. I understand she had a horrific childhood and overcame a lot but she’s always seemed a little fake to me. Also, her “quirky” personality seemed a little fake, as well. I’ve watch some of her interviews over the years and every time I thought something was off about her.

        I think we are finally seeing the real Drew and the real Drew is an entitled asshole drama queen.

  5. Mireille says:

    What repercussions does Drew face for going against WGA? The show is just going to replace those 3 head writers. And the show goes on. No accountability here — unless they can’t book guests and hire writers. Maybe people will avoid working or appearing on the show?

    • Olivia says:

      Drew was a scab. Scabs get blacklisted by the union. She’s gonna have a hard time hiring experienced writers. Of course, she could just hire non-union/inexperienced writers. She might also have a hard time booking union actors to appear on her show. I cannot believe she didn’t consider any of this. She seems so completely out of touch with reality. She should fire whoever advised her. And she’s going to have to do a lot of work to get back in the unions’ good books.

      • KASalvy says:

        Out of touch with reality describes her perfectly. Friends of mine worked for Drew years ago and said it was an extremely volatile environment and her decisions would change every hour. She left after six months and still refuses to work with her.

  6. Amy T says:

    What a series of really bad, dumb decisions on Barrymore’s part. How on earth did she think this was going to play out?

    All best to the writers and good for them for taking their skills & talent elsewhere.

  7. BlueSky says:

    It will be interesting to see if anyone from the WGA will interview for their jobs or if they stand in solidarity with the ones who chose not to return.

  8. Val says:

    Ok someone please educate me because I’m clueless. I completely understand supporting the strike for your writers. But I also see the merit in wanting to put everyone else on the staff – who’s surely also struggling financially while not working – back to work so they can support themselves. Like, if she did it just for herself, f*ck her. But isn’t allowing everyone else to work a good thing too? Again, please educate me because I’m sure I’m missing something important.

    • escondista says:

      Barrymore has plenty of money to support her staff.

      • Athena says:

        Maybe she doesn’t have plenty of money. When I heard she was bringing the show back my thought was that she needed the money.

      • Ameerah M says:

        Please. She has a net worth of 130mil.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        Drew is the head of a business corporation which includes her being the boss/producer of her successful tv show, her cosmetics company, her home goods company, her partnerships with other companies (ie. Grove cleaning products), and her acting/producing projects. She is beyond loaded.

        Also, lets pretend for a second she actually gave a shit about her employees struggling during the strike. Let’s say there are 200 employees. She could pay them a conservative $5000 per month for 10 months and only be out $10,000,000. That seems like a lot to you and me but it’s a drop in the bucket for her.

        Also, she would have been able to make that back in a matter of months due to the phenomenal publicity. Advertisers would have paid top dollar for her show because her show would have exploded. Everyone in Hollywood would be clamoring to be on her show, and promoting her cosmetics and home goods. Imagine the partnership deals she could have made!

        Instead, she revealed she’s a scab, a backstabber, and easily purchased by the Hollywood powers that be. She deserves to be blacklisted by the unions.

    • The Old Chick says:

      Val if you’re truly interested, there is plenty of material online explaining this coming from the unions themselves. You can definitely educate yourself if you want to. Drew is a lying, selfish scab. She is loaded and can help support her workers like others have been.

    • lucy2 says:

      It’s an unenviable position to be in, I think, wanting to keep your whole staff working but also supporting the strike. The strike is/was crucial to the industry though, and as a member of a union herself, Drew should understand that. The way it was handled at every point was just terrible.

    • Remy says:

      When drew decided to bring her show back, her show wasn’t off air because of the strike, they were on summer hiatus like they do every year. So her show was barely off air cause of the strike – I think it was only like two weeks. Last time the strike happened, the rules were different and late night talk shows were still on without the writers, Conan paid his staff out of his own pocket and he made sure to highlight how boring the show is without writers. For instance, he just sat at his desk and spun his wedding ring. This time late night shows were not allowed to be on, so the late night hosts (Oliver, Colbert, Meyers, Kimmel, and Fallon) started a podcast to help pay their staff. Another way the late night hosts were adding to their staffing fund was with stand up shows. Other shows set up funds for staff. In 2019 Michael Sheen was organizing the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff, when funding well through, he sold his two homes to fund it. Drew has at least four homes, but she’s worth way more than Michael sheen, so she would not have had to do that. She could have found sponsors. She could have set up a podcast like the late night hosts. There are so many options drew could have done to support her staff without scabbing.

      • Mireille says:

        Michael Sheen did what now? How did I not know this????!!!! I want to marry him now….so cool he did that!!!!

  9. Flowerlake says:

    Berrymore really lost face in this, in my opinion.

    Still disappointed.

  10. It Really Is You, Not Me says:

    I know I am in a tiny minority here, but Drew Barrymore has always rubbed me the wrong way. Like, she is the model for the sensitive-artist , manic pixie dream girl that no one can ever tell what to do because she just “gets it” on a higher level than us mere plebes. Like a Flower Child version of Gwyneth Paltrow.

    Man, Did she reveal herself to be a straight-up self-interested capitalist with this move. So much for all her girl-power, We-Stick-Together BS. She bailed on those “amazing writers” as soon as it affected her bottom line.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      I am right there with you on this. I never warmed up to her and she always seemed fake to me. Even the quirky personality seemed fake.

      This situation has revealed who she really is.

  11. Concern Fae says:

    Yeah. Really bad look for her. I know the type, if they become convinced that someone is “hurting,” they do incredibly stupid sht. Completely cannot comprehend that sometimes you take the L for a greater good. It’s the anti-vax mentality.

    That said, there was a bigger issue involved. Namely that syndicated shows must produce a contracted number of shows annually or face cancellation and financial penalties for the principal people involved. My understanding is that the point where it would have been necessary for these shows hadn’t been hit yet. It might have been mid-October? However, there would have been a lot of shows in this situation, and I’m sure the unions had some sort of plan for it, because I remember them telling people to honor contracts at the beginning of the strike. Drew was just a useful idiot who they convinced to go back early.

  12. Peanut Butter says:

    If only karma always worked so swiftly and decisively