Drew Barrymore has chosen to delay the premiere of “The Drew Barrymore Show” until after the writers’ strike ends, after her decision to resume production without writers faced significant backlash.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she said in a statement on Instagram. “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry soon.”
“The Talk” joined Barrymore, also announcing Sunday morning a pause on its own return to the air. Season 14 was scheduled to debut this coming Monday.
“We support Drew’s decision to pause the show’s return and understand how complex and difficult this process has been for her,” a spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures said in a statement.
Barrymore had chosen to resume production on “The Drew Barrymore Show” during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but faced significant backlash from writers who saw her decision as flying in the face of their fight.
The host announced the decision to begin filming new episodes last Sunday and brought her crew and other non-writing series employees back to work on Monday, saying that “this is bigger than just me.” She added Friday that “there are other people’s jobs on the line” if she didn’t, and stressed that the show would be produced completely unscripted.
As the backlash intensified, Barrymore posted an apology video on Friday that she later took down, in which she said, “I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them. I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions. I deeply apologize.
“I don’t exactly know what to say,” she added, “because sometimes when things are so tough, it’s hard to make decisions from that place. So all I can say is that I wanted to accept responsibility.”
The new season of “The Drew Barrymore Show” was supposed to premiere on Monday, Sept. 18. Per Barrymore, that will no longer be happening. It’s unclear if the shows that Barrymore produced last week will eventually make their way to air, or if she’ll be starting from scratch once the strike concludes.
Many criticized Barrymore’s apology video, including Debra Messing, who left a comment urging the “Never Been Kissed” star to reconsider.
“You can choose now to halt production,” the former “Will & Grace” star wrote. “You can choose to pay your employees like other talk show hosts who have stood in solidarity with the writers. There are thousands of union members’ jobs and livelihoods that are at stake (exponentially more than those who work on your show) and the future of our beloved industry. I hope you will reconsider.”
Barrymore is far from the the only talk show host to resume production during the strikes. “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” were among the projects this week to announce their return, as was “Real Time With Bill Maher,” despite the latter host himself being a member of the WGA. “The Talk” later announced that it would be pausing its return, but similar announcements have not come from those other programs.
For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, read here.