Drew Barrymore is back (again).
The actress-host has set Oct. 16 as the return date for her eponymous daytime talk show.
After initially announcing, and strongly defending, her show’s plan to return amid the writers strike on Sept. 18, Barrymore (along with those involved with other WGA-covered shows that had planned to return last month despite the strike) received extensive backlash for her decision, with the controversy dominating the strike news cycle for days.
The host became a swift target, including from picketers outside of her New York City studio when she attempted to resume production, when she attempted to pre-emptively defend her decision to return without the show’s three striking writers in a Sept. 10 Instagram post.
She doubled down on the return days later with a video that was later deleted before, on Sept. 17, choosing to delay the show’s return until the writers strike ended.
She marked her reversal with another Instagram post where an emotional Barrymore wrote “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team,” Barrymore wrote in an Instagram post. “We really tried to find our way forward, and I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”
Other shows that had planned on a Sept. 18 return — The Talk and The Jennifer Hudson Show — also delayed their premiere dates.
Just a week later, the Writers Guild of America reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP group of studios and streamers and announced an end to the strike.
The backlash from striking writers against the daytime return of The Drew Barrymore Show under the CBS umbrella was especially harsh and dominated the strike news cycle for days.
Other daytime shows that have WGA writers had set earlier returns but then paused amid the backlash from striking writers. Now, those shows — many of which are reliant on celebrity guests — are also moving forward with new return dates that’s especially good news for broadcast networks starved for new content during the dual Hollywood strikes and no longer needing to air re-runs.
The Talk announced earlier this week that it planned to return on Oct. 9 while the Jennifer Hudson Show returned on Oct. 2. Also this morning, Kelly Clarkson has announced that she will return with her daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, which also employs WGA writers, from its new New York City location, on Oct. 16.
Clarkson’s show will film its fifth season at NBC Studios’ Studio 6A in New York, with taping set to begin a week prior to air on Oct. 10. Studio 6A was previously the home of the Late Night shows hosted by David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon.
“I’m so excited to start our fifth season at the iconic 30 Rock,” Clarkson said. “There is such a unique energy and creative spirit that comes with filming in New York City. Y’all ready?”
Tracie Wilson, executive vp, syndication studios and E! News, NBCUniversal Entertainment, added in a statement: “We launched the past two season premieres in New York with great success. When the opportunity to bring the show under the same roof as “Today,” Seth, Jimmy and “SNL” presented itself, we felt it was the perfect way to re-energize the show going into the fifth season.”
And showrunner Alex Duda said, “We can’t wait to welcome a vibrant audience to join us in studio. There will be lots of surprises and plenty of giveaways. Kellyoke fans can expect to see Kelly and her band perform impromptu duets with our 30 Rock neighbors and talent from Broadway, plus more ‘Songs & Stories’ episodes with artists such as P!NK, Garth Brooks and Chris Martin. We’ll also do our signature ‘Good Neighbor’ segment, highlighting everyday people doing extraordinary things in their communities.”
With new restart dates after the resolution of the WGA strike and a new writers contract, the daytime and late-night TV landscape will remain disrupted until the separate SAG-AFTRA strike ends with a deal. Until then, Hollywood actors remain barred from all promotion, including talk show appearances, until their own new contract deal is sealed.