The National Book Awards made a decisive move on Tuesday, September 12, by removing Drew Barrymore from her role as host for this year’s prestigious ceremony. This decision came just one day after her talk show resumed production, amid the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike.
In a statement issued by the National Book Foundation, the organization emphasized the significance of the National Book Awards as an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature and the invaluable contributions of writers to our culture. However, in light of the announcement that “The Drew Barrymore Show” would be returning to production, the National Book Foundation chose to revoke Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.
While the resumption of Barrymore’s CBS talk show did not inherently conflict with the actors’ guild strike, daytime talk shows operate under a different Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (Sag-Aftra) contract that had been renewed and ratified the previous year. However, the issue arose because Barrymore’s show employs at least three writers who are members of the writers’ guild, which has been on strike since May.
These striking writers were seen picketing outside the CBS Broadcast Building on Monday, with Chelsea White, one of the show’s writers, expressing their commitment to the cause and union solidarity.
Barrymore faced criticism from members of both guilds for crossing the picket line. The fourth season of her talk show was scheduled to start airing on September 18, and a representative for Barrymore did not provide an immediate response to the situation.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Barrymore acknowledged her decision to return during the strike and pledged to comply with the strikes by not discussing or promoting struck work. She expressed her intention to support the writers on her show.
At the start of the writers’ strike, Barrymore had withdrawn from her hosting duties at the MTV Movie & TV Awards as a show of solidarity with those on strike. Interestingly, she later won the award for Best Host at the event, which had transitioned to a clip-heavy pre-taped format.
When Barrymore was initially announced as the host for this year’s National Book Awards, scheduled for November 15, the chair of the National Book Foundation’s board of directors praised her for championing books alongside Oprah Winfrey. However, in light of recent events, the foundation has shifted its focus back to celebrating writers and books.
In their statement, the National Book Foundation expressed gratitude to Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding of the situation, emphasizing their commitment to ensuring that the Awards ceremony remains a celebration of writers and their literary contributions.
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