After an onslaught of criticism over her decision to return her show to the air while Hollywood is on strike, Drew Barrymore reversed herself on Sunday and at least two other shows did the same.
Barrymore announced her change of course in an Instagram post, just a day before her talk show was to begin broadcasting. Taping resumed last Monday for the daytime program.
After the announcement, “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” which is produced by Warner Bros., and the CBS show “The Talk,” rolled back previously announced plans to start broadcasting new episodes on Monday. CBS said in a statement on Sunday regarding “The Talk,” that it would pause its season premiere and “evaluate plans for a new launch date.”
The return of production for Barrymore’s show attracted picketers from the striking writers’ and actors’ unions, and on Friday, she defended her decision in an emotional Instagram video, saying, “This is bigger than me.”
CBS Media Ventures, which produces “The Drew Barrymore Show,” echoed her resolution at that point, saying more than 150 jobs would be affected. The company noted that she would be using a fully ad-libbed format, without anyone replacing the production’s three striking writers.
But on Friday night, she deleted the video, and on Sunday morning released a statement changing course. The syndicated program was to begin airing new episodes on Monday.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” the statement said. “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 very soon.”
In a statement on Sunday, CBS Media said it supported her latest decision and understood “how complex and difficult this process has been for her.”
Although Barrymore was not the only daytime talk show host to announce a return during the strikes, she has received the most criticism, perhaps in part because in May she decided to bow out of hosting the MTV Movie and TV Awards in solidarity with Writers Guild of America members.
The daytime juggernaut “The View,” for example, has been airing new episodes filmed without its unionized writers.
Bill Maher announced last week that his weekly show on HBO would be returning, defending his decision in a social media post, saying, “I’m not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much.”
Members of the Writers Guild have been on strike since May, and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists began its strike in July.
Barrymore herself is a member of SAG-AFTRA, but as a host she is covered by a separate agreement called the Network Code, making it technically permissible for her to present the show during the strike.
Late-night shows have the same option, but thus far, many network hosts have decided not to take it. Instead, five of the big-name hosts — Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver — have started a podcast together, with proceeds going toward supporting their staffs.
Returning amid the strikes may look even less appealing to other hosts after Barrymore’s ordeal. A day after her show resumed production, the National Book Foundation dropped her as the host of the National Books Awards.
Her social media pages were filled with people urging her to walk back her decision to resume production, advice she heeded in less than a week.