The show was engulfed in tumult as Barrymore briefly prepared to return, without her writers, before the strike ended
The first episode of The Drew Barrymore Show was dedicated almost entirely to a 30-minute interview with country legend Shania Twain. The pair discussed classic Barrymore topics like trust, relationships, and therapy — in this case equine therapy — as well as Taylor Swift and going clubbing with their mothers as children. (“I had this passion for music and I thought, ‘Well I guess if you have a passion for music then this is the way you do it,’” Twain said. “I think certain personalities are not as capable of coping with it. I feel lucky that I was so resilient, but I paid a price for it, you know.”)
But neither before nor after the interview did Barrymore address the controversy that bubbled up around her show. Back in late August, CBS Television announced that The Drew Barrymore Show would return without its writers as the WGA strike continued; a few weeks later, Barrymore confirmed the news, but the backlash was severe.
Her own striking writers even picketed the show’s studio, with (now former) co-head writer Chelsea White telling Rolling Stone at the time, “When any production that is covered under WGA comes back during a strike it undermines our whole group effort to come to a fair contract with the [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers].”
At first, Barrymore issued a tearful apology, saying she wanted to “own a decision” and “take full responsibility for my actions,” while acknowledging there was “nothing I can do that will make this OK to those that it is not OK with.” A few days later, Barrymore announced that she would “pause” her daytime talk show until the strike ended — which it did just over a week later.
As the show plotted its proper return following the end of the strike, Rolling Stone reported that the three co-head writers — White, Liz Doe, and Cristina Kinon — had declined offers to return. All three had been working on The Drew Barrymore Show since its debut in 2020.