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Drew Barrymore steps down as MTV Movie & TV Awards host in support of WGA strike

Shows such as Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and more have all been impacted by the strike

Drew Barrymore attends the 2023 Time100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 26, 2023 in New York City
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
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Drew Barrymore is standing in solidarity with the members of the Writers Guild of America amid their ongoing strike, which began on Tuesday at midnight after six weeks of contentious negotiations for a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and effectively shut down production on various television series, late night shows, and movies in Hollywood and beyond.

The actress turned television host was slated to host the upcoming MTV Movie & TV Awards on Sunday, May 7th, but has pulled out of the role in a show of support for the WGA.

The state of the awards show was already uncertain since the strike began, Variety reports, and while they still are set to air, a replacement host has yet to be chosen, and MTV has opted out of holding a red carpet or any interviews ahead of the show.

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Though Drew is standing with the writers, who have been supported by a variety of other celebrities including Seth Meyers, Chelsea Handler, Quinta Brunson, Jay Leno, Rob Lowe and more, she has reached a compromise with MTV, and has agreed to return as host for 2024's awards.

"I have listened to the writers, and in order to truly respect them, I will pivot from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards live in solidarity with the strike," the morning show host said in a statement to Variety.

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She added: "Everything we celebrate and honor about movies and television is born out of their creation. And until a solution is reached, I am choosing to wait but I'll be watching from home and hope you will join me.

"I thank MTV, who has truly been some of the best partners I have ever worked with. And I can't wait to be a part of this next year, when I can truly celebrate everything that MTV has created, which is a show that allows fans to choose who the awards go to and is truly inclusive," she concluded.

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This WGA walkout is the first writer strike in Hollywood in over 15 years, the last having lasted 99 days, from November 2007 to February 2008. It is rooted in a disagreement over how much writers are paid amid the rapid shift to, and growing industry of, streaming services, with union members claiming they are not making enough income, especially from their residuals, which many have pointed out used to offer a sustainable wage in the time in between jobs.

Rob Lowe (L), John Owen Lowe (R) and members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and supporters picket outside of Paramount Pictures on May 02, 2023 in Los Angeles, California© Getty
Rob and his son John were one of many celebrities who joined the picket line on Tuesday

"Driven in large part by the shift to streaming, writers are finding their work devalued in every part of the business. While company profits have remained high and spending on content has grown, writers are falling behind," read a statement from the WGA, which further said: "The companies have used the transition to streaming to cut writer pay and separate writing from production, worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels."

In the aftermath, late night television shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon have all gone dark, airing reruns instead – Fallon and Seth are personally paying their writers for two weeks – and the upcoming Saturday Night Live episode, which was slated to see Pete Davidson return to studio 8H as a first-time host, has been canceled. Daytime television and other scripted series will most likely be impacted as well, with the halt on writing delaying production for what are typically fall premieres.

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