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The writers strike may be over, but that doesn’t mean all creators are returning to their jobs. Talk show host and actress Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels) has lost her three head writers for her television program, The Drew Barrymore Show – and not for the reason you might think.
Chelsea White, Cristina Kinon, and Liz Koe, all members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), chose not to return to their former employer after Barrymore decided the show must go on during the strike. On Instagram, Barrymore wrote that the show would return on September 18 and “I am also making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me. I own this choice.” She continued:
“We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time.”
This was a confusing move to some fans since in May she decided not to show for her hosting duties at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in support of the WGA. Technically, the 50 First Dates actress did not violate SAG-AFTRA rules according to a rep at the time who told The Hollywood Reporter: “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.”
Kinon, Koe, and White were very active during the protests but say they found out the show was returning, not from executives or anyone from the show, but from an audience ticket giveaway posted on social media. The three creators share the title of co-head writer and were seen picketing outside of Barrymore’s Manhattan studio with signs that read, “Honk if you [love] union labor,” and “Drew’s News: Strikes.”
White told The Reporter: “It is a bummer to hear that the show is going back because it sends a message that union writers are not valuable.” 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.”
The backlash from Barrymore’s decision prompted her to retreat from the September 18 airing. “I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she wrote, adding: “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.”
Still, the damage was done, and the show’s top writers refused an offer to return to work. Now, the staff is on a mad hunt, interviewing new writers while the first return episode is scheduled for October 16.
Tune in next time to see what else Tinseltown has planned. For more HollyWeird, click here.