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Drew Barrymore’s own co-head writer criticises host for resuming talk show amid strikes

Drew Barrymore’s own co-head writer, Cristina Kinon, has joined those criticising the star for resuming her eponymous talk show without writers.

The actor sparked backlash for confirming that The Drew Barrymore Show will begin work on a new season despite the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strikers.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, Kinon said that her boss would “prolong the strike” by resuming her show.

“I personally understand that everybody has to make the best decision for themselves,” the writer said. “I know that this show has a crew of hundreds of people who need to be paid, and I understand the perspective of wanting to protect your cast, your crew and your staff.

“We’re standing with all of labour and all of the unions across the world, because that is how it works. Unions only work when you stick together with unions across the labor spectrum.”

She continued: “It is frustrating, because it will prolong the strike, and we just want it to end.

“I don’t see how what I do is different from writing for a scripted show, or writing feature films – which I also do. We’re all trying to make a career out of writing, and the AMPTP is trying to slowly chip away at that. And they wouldn’t have anything without writers; writers are the seed of all of creation.”

Drew Barrymore (Getty Images for Universal Pictures)
Drew Barrymore (Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Kinon added that she “would love to see” Barrymore and the show “stand in solidarity with us, and it’s not too late.”

In her statement shared on social media on Sunday (10 September), Barrymore said her show’s production is “in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind” and that “we have navigated difficult times since we came on air”, referring to The Drew Barrymore Show being released during the Covid pandemic.

Barrymore’s show employs at least three writers who are members of the writers’ guild, which has been on strike since early May. Those writers were picketing outside the CBS Broadcast Building on Monday.

“The only people I know for sure that are not going back are us three WGA writers. And the rest, I can’t really speak for,” Chelsea White, another of the show’s writers, said on the picket line.

“I think first and foremost, this is obviously way bigger than just The Drew Barrymore Show and writers. We are out here standing with our union and feeling great and excited always to stand with our union.”

On Tuesday, the National Book Awards dropped Barrymore as the host for this year’s ceremony in light of the backlash.

“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture,” the organisation said in a statement.

“In light of the announcement that The Drew Barrymore Show will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.

“[...] Our commitment is to ensure that the focus of the Awards remains on celebrating writers and books, and we are grateful to Ms Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation.”

The fourth season of The Drew Barrymore Show is slated to start airing on 18 September.