Drew Barrymore’s new daytime talk show might be the first to start in the COVID-19 era, and it shows. The show ingrains the language of social distancing. While others had to adapt to the new remote, audience-less format, Drew’s show was born in it.
Instead of an audience is a big Zoom screen, and while the show is broadcast live, it’s live in that way we’ve gotten used to—one person in an empty room. When guests are in-studio with Drew, they sit six feet apart. Cooking segments are entirely virtual, with the chef in one kitchen and Drew in another. Barely an interview doesn’t touch on the restrictions and changes that have come about as a result of the lockdowns.
Tyra Banks came on during the show’s first week to talk about how to smile while wearing a face mask, so strangers you encounter don’t think you’re unfriendly. A mom came on to talk about the difficulties of remote learning. In a conversation with Charlize Theron, the two lament that they can’t get their kids together due to the lockdowns.
The show launched on Sept. 14, and from the looks of Barrymore’s Instagram, it wasn’t easy. Drew released a clip showing her crisis of confidence before she went on air with her first show, and her staff helping her get through it.
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It has not been an easy journey to make this show and especially right now, but I can’t wait to show up tomorrow for this job I am so grateful for and with the support of the very best team in the world!! This is a clip from the 4 part series we made with @22twentytwo22 for our You Tube channel called The Making Of. We wanted to show you how we got here! I’m so proud of how far we have come and you are all welcome to join us on this journey! Let’s dream, cry, shine, heal and blossom TOGETHER! You are all invited to this party!!! #DrewBarrymoreShow
Barrymore felt like she hated her voice, and wasn’t sure she could live up to her expectations for the show. In her second episode, she talked about how deciding to bring on her close friends made the show start to click for her.
She reunited with her fellow “angels,” Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu. In chairs six feet apart, the women talked about the origins of their friendship on the set of the “Charlie’s Angels” remake in 2000, and how much they’d come through together since then. Diaz was visible as though she were in the room, seated on the same chairs as Drew and Liu, but she was off-site.
Barrymore looked near tears a few times during this segment, and as a rule, she is an emotional presence. All of her emotions are heightened, and her main goal seems to be to bring joy and exuberance. The plan hadn’t been to launch the show during global government lockdowns, but once the production team accepted that was going to happen, they embraced it.
Design elements and filmic ideas are entirely designed for the virtual, live talk show. The massive Zoom screen was inspired by Drew’s love of “Blade Runner.”
In terms of content, there is a concerted effort to provide only good news. It almost has an old-timey quality to it, simply because it is not contentious at all. When politics come up, they are not in the gory details. Drew is definitely aiming to add to the light and not the heat.
In addition to a recurring feature called Drew’s News, which breaks down either not-upsetting or weird news, there’s a cooking segment. The Cookbook Club features cookbooks and their chefs. A really refreshing episode brought in chef Haile Thomas and her incredibly personal cookbook, which features journal entries and remembrances about her family and the meals they shared. Each in her own kitchen, Thomas and Drew build an Islander Lively Bowl from the book, and the way it’s put together makes a really healthy dish look like a treat.
The show is trying to navigate the new way to live. Christian Siriano brings on a series of looks for different occasions over Zoom calls. The tops are presentable, while the bottoms are basically pajamas. She also talks to Dr. Erica Gamble, a small business owner with a wig shop who has been trying to keep her business going not just for her bottom line, but to help those she serves, from people needing cancer treatments to those with auto-immune disorders.
In the clip of her pre-show breakdown, Drew said “I have worked so hard at things because I am full of flaws. Oh my g-d, I’m so screwed up. I’m so imperfect. I’ve been so broken so many times in my life, and yet none of that can be an excuse to stay that way or to be upset or angry or ever take that out on anyone else. Or to have that be a reason that you can’t get out of that and go to the next place.”
Drew has definitely gone onto the next place. Her original vision for her talk show was blown up by pandemic restrictions, but she came up with a new format that would not exist were it not for those limitations. That’s not to say it’s amazing—it’s definitely a bit wonky. But it’s trying.
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OUR STORY! THE MAKING OF the @thedrewbarrymoreshow , this is a very personal story, told with my long time collaborator @22twentytwo22 Omar Lagda I am so excited to share this with you. I wanted to explain what this last year was. I wanted to be intimate and reveal this life changing year, and to try and find our voice. I truly believed we would not get here. And you will understand why as well if you watch. And I understood that. But how we convinced ourselves to keep working knowing it might never be, was an odd and beautiful liberating way to set the rule book on fire. So let me peel back the curtain! And try to bridge digital and broadcast, in this 4 part series. A mini documentary if you will. Made by us who work on this show! I wanted to share this journey, we are so privileged to be on with you. PS – There is a link in my bio to our You Tube channel where you can view the full episode! #drewbarrymoreshow