Drew Barrymore has found herself in a sticky situation as she plans to bring back her daytime talk show amidst the ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). While Barrymore has faced criticism for her decision, she is not the only host returning to television this week. Other shows, such as “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” CBS’ “The Talk,” Sherri Shepherd’s “Sherri,” and Karamo Brown’s “Karamo,” are also launching new seasons. However, these shows are not struck or covered by the WGA like “Tamron Hall” and “Live with Kelly & Mark,” which have already been back on the air.
Syndicated TV shows, including “The Drew Barrymore Show,” have contractual obligations to deliver new episodes to their local station partners. Unlike network shows, which have permanent time slots on a network’s schedule, syndicated daytime talk shows are required to produce a certain number of episodes for more than 200 local stations throughout the TV season. This means that returning to work during the strikes is a business decision, and Barrymore is not alone in making it. Hosts like Barrymore are under contract with major media production companies, and like any regular job, they ultimately have to show up and work.
While the strikes have created a challenging situation for both the shows and the writers, it is important to recognize that the writers are fighting for better wages and working conditions. The decision to return to work is not an easy one, as it affects the livelihoods of the many staffers employed by these shows. Without their shows, many people would be out of work, and ratings and advertising revenue would suffer.
The debate surrounding the return of these shows also highlights the peculiar nature of syndicated TV. With the rise of streaming platforms, the talk show market has become fragmented, and daytime lineups are often filled with repeat episodes of older shows. Original talk shows like “Drew,” “Jennifer Hudson,” and others are costly productions in an era when fewer people are watching daytime TV. More repeats would mean a quicker demise for syndication, which relies on original programming to attract viewers and generate revenue.
As the strikes continue with no end in sight, local stations and advertisers are expecting new and exclusive content from the shows they pay a license fee to carry. The decision to return to work is not taken lightly, as there are risks involved. However, for those working in daytime TV, their livelihoods depend on these shows. Stations can pull shows off the air if they don’t comply, potentially leaving many people unemployed.
It is a complex situation with no easy solutions. While the WGA argues that shows like Barrymore’s cannot operate without writers, some discuss show staffers say that many shows are heavily unscripted and rely on improvisation. Ultimately, the decision to return to work during the strikes is a matter of survival for these shows and the people who rely on them for their jobs. Until the strikes are resolved, the debate over the return of daytime talk shows will continue.