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Drew Barrymore and others will pause shows until after writers strike ends

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Hudson and "The Talk" are delaying their daytime talk shows over the Hollywood strikes.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

The decisions come after several shows planned to resume production this week and after Drew Barrymore, in particular, got into some hot water.

FADEL: NPR's Mandalit del Barco joins us now from Los Angeles to discuss all this. Hi, Mandalit.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Hello. Good morning.

FADEL: Good morning. So this is a reversal from what Drew Barrymore and other talk shows announced last week in the midst of this strike. Was it backlash from strikers that led to the change?

DEL BARCO: Yeah. Well, Drew Barrymore, you know, since her daytime talk show has become a daytime drama - that's what we're all talking about now - when the writers strike first started, she publicly said she was in support, and she even turned down hosting the MTV Awards. Then last week, she announced the fourth season of her show was coming back. There were protests on social media, even by her own writers, and the National Book Awards rescinded its invitation for her to host its annual ceremony. A few days later, on Friday, Barrymore seemed to double down on the decision to resume. She posted a tearful video message on Instagram.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DREW BARRYMORE: I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions. I deeply apologize.

DEL BARCO: Barrymore said she was taking full responsibility for the decision to resume, but there was so much backlash to that video - people online calling her a scab - that Barrymore quickly deleted it. And yesterday, she posted again saying she had listened to everyone and is no longer premiering her next season until the strike ends.

FADEL: I mean, but Drew Barrymore wasn't alone in this decision. We mentioned this kind of domino effect. Others were going to come back. Why was there so much attention to Drew Barrymore?

DEL BARCO: Well, for one thing, Drew Barrymore did make these very public announcements. And second, she's been famous almost her whole life. People still remember her as the little girl who was friends with E.T. in the 1982 film. She came from Hollywood royalty. Journalist Michael Schulman told me he was reminded of something he learned while writing his book "The Oscar Wars." He says Drew's great-aunt, Ethel Barrymore, had been a theater actress and vice president of the union Actors' Equity. Schulman said in 1929, when the union was trying to include movie stars, Ethel Barrymore single-handedly undermined that effort.

MICHAEL SCHULMAN: The union members were really angry at Ethel Barrymore. One of the actors said, if Miss Barrymore could not say anything beneficial for us, the least she could have done would have been to keep still. It also came out that Ethel Barrymore had met with producers Irving Thalberg and Jack Warner in her dressing room and that she had taken a role in a Warner Brothers film. So there was just all this outcry that Ethel had basically parachuted in, derailed this whole effort.

DEL BARCO: Schulman says that effort to unionize movie actors in Equity failed. And later that year, 45 of them banded together to create the Screen Actors Guild. That's the union that Drew Barrymore is a member of today and the one that is on strike right now.

FADEL: Yeah. And that strike has really ground Hollywood to a stop. The Writers Guild and major studios will resume negotiations this week. Any sign that anything will change?

DEL BARCO: By all accounts, the two sides are at an impasse. My sources tell me the strike might go on until January.

FADEL: Wow.

DEL BARCO: But meanwhile, Bill Maher is set to resume his talk show later this week. And another talk show, "The View," has been on the air all throughout.

FADEL: That's NPR's Mandalit del Barco in Los Angeles. Thanks, Mandalit.

DEL BARCO: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF CUSHY'S "PARTYING IN THE HILLS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.