Drew Barrymore Unbooked From Hosting National Book Awards

Organizers of the National Book Awards said Tuesday that they have rescinded their offer to Drew Barrymore to host their annual ceremony this year after news that her daily talk show would resume despite the ongoing Writers Guild strike received backlash.

“In light of the announcement that The Drew Barrymore Show will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony,” the group wrote today. “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.”

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Earlier this year, The Drew Barrymore Show host walked away from her hosting duties at the MTV Movie & TV Awards in support of the writers, who are now on day 134 of their strike against the studios.

But last week it was announced Season 4 of the syndicated show’s fourth season would premiere on Monday, September 18, a choice Barrymore said is all on her and would be in compliance with the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strike rules. (Daytime programs falls under a different SAG-AFTRA contract, so Barrymore’s hosting duties do not run afoul of the actors union’s current strike.)

“I own this choice. We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind,” she said. “We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time.”

On Monday, striking writers gathered outside  CBS Broadcast Center in New York to protest the restart and discourage the host and her guests from crossing their picket line. Barrymore ended up slipping in undetected to tape a pair of episodes with in-studio audiences; two audience members were turned away for wearing WGA pins.

The 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner to celebrate the year’s best writing will be held November 15 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.

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