With the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes, many movies and TV shows have been on hiatus or put on indefinite hold until a resolution or collective agreement comes to pass with the studios. As such, some of our most beloved regular viewings, like late-night TV talk shows The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Last Week Tonight, and more, are off the air.
However, some daytime talk shows have courted controversy by saying they would cross the picket line and violate strike rules by returning to production without their writers. These announcements caused major backlash, and now some shows are giving one big giant “JK! We’ll stay off the air after all!” Here’s all the shows who dared to cross the picket line and paid the price.
A week after saying the beloved daytime talk show would return without writers on September 18, host Drew Barrymore rescinded after facing a huge backlash online and also amongst her peers.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she wrote 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 very soon.”
Initially, Drew posted a video to social media explaining why her show had to return. In the now deleted video, she apologized to her writers, saying, “I believe there is nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay. I wanted to own a decision so it wasn't a PR-protected situation.”
"I want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone - it is not who I am."
She continued, “I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention. I wanted to do this because as I said, this is bigger than me, and there are other people’s jobs on the line.”
This caused a furor, with her peers like Rose O’Donnell and Alyssa Milano condemning her actions.
On Instagram, Rosie wrote, “Stop taping the show. Stop asking audiences to cross the picket line, Then ask someone to help you craft three declarative sentences. They should follow along these lines: I made an error. I apologize to the WGA for disrespecting the work of professional writers. I apologize to all union members who are withstanding real hardship as I live a life of luxury.”
Alyssa commented on the post, saying, “Not complicated at all.”
Drew also faced professional consequences for her initial announcement. The National Book awards rescinded her invitation to host its upcoming annual award ceremony.
The WGA also clapped back, saying in a statement, “Drew Barrymore should not be on the air while her writers are on strike fighting for a fair deal. In reality, shows like this cannot operate without writing, and that is struck work.”
EGOT winner Jennifer Hudson originally had planned for her eponymous show to return amid the strike, but very quickly changed her mind amid growing criticism. According to Variety writer Elizabeth Wagmeister, a source claims that Jennifer’s show was paused because Jennifer herself was pushing for it, saying specifically it was “at Jennifer’s urging.”
The Talk has seen its fair share of controversy over the years (Hello Sharon Osbourne!) and it faced it again recently when the show announced it would cross the picket line to return to production. However, they’ve now done an about face with a representative for CBS saying in a statement to EW, "The Talk is pausing its season premiere scheduled for Sept. 18. We will continue to evaluate plans for a new launch date." The Talk is currently hosted by Akbar Gbajabiamila, Amanda Kloots, Jerry O'Connell, Sheryl Underwood, and Natalie Morales.
However, there are many shows that have announced their return to production in defiance of the WGA strike, and don’t seem to care or take into account the backlash they face.
The View, Tamron Hall, and Live With Kelly and Mark, have been filming new episodes throughout the strike, and Real Time With Bill Maher has announced its return in a very Bill Maher way… with attitude.
Maher posted to Twitter, "'Real Time' is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing. It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work."
He continued, "The writers have important issues that I sympathize with, and hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns. Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily."
"I love my writers, I am one of them, but I’m not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much," he said, noting many regular segments in the show won’t be included going forward. “I'll say it upfront to the audience: The show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop.”
The WGA is clearly not happy, with a counter post on Twitter that reads, “If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike. As a WGA member, @BillMaher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how @RealTimers can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place.”