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Drew Barrymore is dropped as National Book Awards host amid writers’ strike controversy

Drew Barrymore poses in a black, lacy, cold-shoulder dress in front of a black backdrop.
Drew Barrymore says of her decision to tape her talk show amid the writers’ and actors’ strikes: “I own this choice.”
(Kevin Wolf / Associated Press)
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The National Book Foundation has cut ties with Drew Barrymore after the actor and daytime TV host made the controversial decision to tape her talk show amid the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes.

The organization confirmed Tuesday that it had “rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation” to host this year’s National Book Awards “in light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production.”

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


“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 foundation’s announcement comes a day after former National Book Award winner Colson Whitehead sarcastically posted on X, “‘Guys — I found the perfect person to host this year’s celebration of writers!’” in response to Barrymore landing the gig.

The Writers Guild of America, East, picketed “The Drew Barrymore Show” after the host said that production would resume during the Hollywood strikes.

Sept. 11, 2023

Representatives for Barrymore did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ request for comment.

On Monday, members of the Writers Guild of America picketed a taping of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” which it has shamed for “planning to return without its writers.” All of the talk show’s writers participated in the demonstration.

“The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike,” the eastern branch of the WGA said in a statement.

“Any writing on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ is in violation of WGA strike rules.”

The WGA is planning to picket outside of ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ after Barrymore confirmed that her talk show would resume amid the writers’ strike.

Sept. 10, 2023

On Wednesday, CBS Media Ventures announced that the fourth season of “The Drew Barrymore Show” would premiere later this month “with a lineup of cutting-edge guests and key influencers.” It’s worth noting that no Hollywood actors — who are also on strike — are among the confirmed guests.


Barrymore later explained why she made the decision to return to the air in a statement posted on social media.

“I own this choice,” she said on Sunday.

“Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience. I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible.”

A replacement host is yet to be selected for the National Book Awards ceremony, which is scheduled to take place Nov. 15 in Manhattan.