“National Book Awards ax Drew Barrymore as host after her talk show resumes despite strike”

“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature and the unparalleled contributions of writers to our culture,” the organization said in a statement. “In light of the announcement that production of ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.”

The resumption of the CBS talk show does not fundamentally cause problems with the Actors’ Guild, which is also on strike, because daytime talk shows are governed by a different contract between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, which was renewed and ratified last year. But Barrymore’s show employs at least three writers who are members of the Writers’ Guild, which has been on strike since early May. These authors demonstrated in front of the CBS Broadcast Building on Monday.

“The only people I know for sure who won’t be returning are us three WGA writers. And I can’t really speak for the rest of it,” Chelsea White, one of the show’s writers, said on the picket line. “I think, first and foremost, that this is obviously about a lot more than just ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ and the writers. We’re out here standing with our union and we feel great and we’re excited to always stand with our union.”

Barrymore was criticized by members of both guilds for crossing the picket line. The fourth season of the talk show is scheduled to air on September 18th. A representative for Barrymore did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In an Instagram post on Sunday, Barrymore said she had “made the decision to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, which may have my name on it, but this is bigger than just me.”

“That decision is mine,” she added, continuing that they would comply with the strikes by not discussing or promoting strike work.

She also mentioned writers in her post.

“I want to be there to convey what authors do so well, and that is a way to bring us together or help us understand the human experience,” she wrote.

At the start of the writers’ strike, Barrymore had resigned as presenter of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity with the strikers (she was later named the event’s best presenter, abandoning the live element in favor of a pre-recorded show with many clips).

“Throughout their careers, Drew Barrymore and Oprah Winfrey have each demonstrated an enduring belief that books have the power to change readers’ lives – opening doors, sparking conversations and building community,” David Steinberger said in a statement and also referred to the ceremony’s guest speaker, Winfrey.

On Tuesday, the foundation tried to put the authors back in the spotlight.

“Our aim is to ensure that the focus of the awards remains on celebrating writers and books, and we thank Ms Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation,” the statement said.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Brian Ashcraft

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