Drew Barrymore No Longer Hosting MTV Awards To Support Writers
Drew Barrymore stands in solidarity with the creative minds behind the movies and shows we love. At the moment a
Drew Barrymore stands in solidarity with the creative minds behind the movies and shows we love. At the moment a Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike is happening, the first since 2007. The guild currently consists of over 6,000 members who “write content for motion pictures, television, news, and online media.” The labor union “negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government.”
So why are writers of Hollywood protesting you ask?
A Changing World
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We’re all witnesses to the mass produced amount of media given to the world through streaming services. And, while we might see it as a great joy, having more things to watch on a regular basis, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies behind closed doors.
The existing contract for writers within the guild was created well before streaming media took the rise that it has. And, members of the guild have vocalized that it doesn’t adequately address how they should be compensated for work within this new medium.
Prior to the deadline for a new contract to be made, writers have requested higher pay overall, greater protections, and a solution to the increase of “mini rooms,” a space where a small group of writers creates multiple scripts for a show’s potential first season. The step before production begins.
On March 14, the WGA released a report titled “Writers Are Not Keeping Up” which shared, “On TV staffs, more writers are working at minimum regardless of experience, often for fewer weeks, or in mini-rooms, while showrunners are left without a writing staff to complete the season.” Continuing, “And while series budgets have soared over the past decade, median writer-producer pay has fallen.”
However, their proposals saw more rejection than success, leading them to move forward with their pledge to stop working until their requirements were addressed.
Both the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) agree that writers are bringing in less money overall, although the obvious surge in content in recent years. According to Deadline, the guild said “WGA proposals would gain writers approximately $429 million per year; AMPTP’s offer is approximately $86 million per year, 48% of which is from the minimums increase.”
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The current contract is between the WGA and AMPTP which includes Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Sony. So yea, basically every streaming service you rely on for a lazy day on the couch.
The contract officially expired at midnight Pacific time which forced a walkout at 12:01 a.m. PT on May 2.
There is no predicting how long the strike will last but the one that occurred in 2007 lasted 100 days.
Drew Barrymore Steps Down
Barrymore is one of the many celebrities who stand in solidarity with the WGA. Most recent news reveals that she decided to step down as host of this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards to show her support.
“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,” Barrymore said in a statement. “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.”
And note, although she won’t be at the live event, she had already pre-taped several short films for the show so if you see her on the screen… no you didn’t.
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“Drew, without question, she’s been incredible. It’s hard to imagine that we’ve ever had a better experience with a host,” Bruce Gillmer, the president of music, music talent, programming, and events at Paramount Global, and an executive producer of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, told Variety. “She’s more of a partner really, she’s in it every day, just super passionate and super engaged and creative. She even bought some of her own team along for the journey. So when this all reared its head, we started to prepare for what could be. She is not surprisingly, standing in solidarity with the writers, which we have full respect for. She has our full support.
“So she’s not going to be with us live in the house for the show and we will essentially be going hostless,” he added. “The silver lining in all of this is that we really formed a partnership almost a family-like atmosphere. So we see this as a shift in direction, but also a pause for the initial plan, which we’ve all agreed and she’s accepted to continue as our host in 2024.”
As for the award show, “the show must go on,” and it will.
MTV has a plan to deliver to fans which will include some pre-taped acceptance speeches and most likely be host-less. The state of the show seems to be evolving day by day and will most likely continue to be minute by minute before it even begins.
Gillmer is still waiting to hear about which presenters and nominees plan on attending given that the situation is fluid.