‘The Jennifer Hudson Show’ and ‘The Talk’ Set to Return Amid WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

UPDATE Sept. 13, 2:15 p.m.: As Variety reported on Monday, CBS is prepping to bring back its daytime yakker “The Talk” on Monday, Sept. 18 — and now it’s official. The Eye network, which earlier on Wednesday announced all of its daytime premieres except “The Talk,” has now confirmed that it will also return on Monday, both on CBS and Paramount+. The show airs weekdays at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.

CBS didn’t share any further details about guests for the first episode, which now comes the same day that “The Drew Barrymore Show” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” will also be back with new episodes in first-run syndication. Like those shows, “The Talk” operates under the SAG-AFTRA Network Code, allowing talk show hosts to continue in that role.

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News comes as “The Talk” shot a rehearsal show on Wednesday, some of which may be used later on an episode. Insiders share with Variety that “The Talk” only has one writing position, which won’t be filled during the strike, and that the hosts will ad-lib their remarks.

ORIGINAL POST: Amid continuous chatter regarding Drew Barrymore’s decision to resume her talk show during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, more daytime shows will also soon be back on the air — without their writers.

“The Jennifer Hudson Show” is resuming production this week, Variety has learned, and will return on Sept. 18, which was its previously-scheduled Season 2 premiere date.

Hudson’s nationally-syndicated show, which is covered by the WGA, will begin its season without writers, sources say, but intends to resume WGA writers once a new contract is in place. A spokesperson for the show declined to comment.

Insiders also tell Variety that CBS’ daytime panel series, “The Talk,” is eyeing a Sept. 18 return. CBS has declined to comment.

It remains unclear if co-hosts Jerry O’Connell, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Amanda Kloots, Natalie Morales and Sheryl Underwood will all return to “The Talk” when it resumes production. O’Connell, in particular, has been out on the picket lines frequently, posting photos of himself striking at CBS Radford (where “The Talk” films) on social media.

“The Talk” halted production in May, shortly after the strike began. This season of “The Talk” will be overseen by Rob Crabbe, formerly of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” who was tapped to replace Kristin Matthews as showrunner in June.

“The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which is moving cross country from the Universal lot to 30 Rock for its upcoming fifth season is currently building its new set in New York, but a source close to the show says no writers are working and filming has not begun for the new season. A premiere date has not been set for Season 5 yet. A spokesperson for NBCUniversal declined to comment on when the show would resume.

When the writers strike began in May, production on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” was shut down, and the show had pre-taped episodes already in the can that it was able to air. Variety previously reported that Clarkson paid the show’s staff out of her own pocket for the days they had already been scheduled to work on Season 4 in the spring.

Barrymore was the first daytime host to announce her show would return amid the strikes, and she is facing fierce criticism. The WGA condemned Barrymore’s decision to return without writers, while SAG-AFTRA defended her. Today, on her first day of production, protestors were outside Barrymore’s show.

Over the weekend, Barrymore released a statement announcing that her show would return, stating that the new season would follow WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike rules. “I own this choice,” Barrymore wrote in a Sept. 10 social media post. “We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. 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.”

Talk shows that have already returned this season are “Live! With Kelly and Mark” and “Tamron Hall,” which are not WGA shows and therefore, are permitted to continue with production.

“The View” never halted production during the strikes, and returned with its new season earlier this month after its regularly-scheduled summer hiatus. “The View” — which is produced under ABC’s news division — has two WGA writers, but those individuals have stepped away and have not been working since the strike began. The WGA has picketed the show, and the hosts have discussed the strikes on-air numerous times.

Sherri Shepherd’s show “Sherri,” which returns on Sept. 18, does not have any writers and has never had any writers. The show, which is distributed by Debmar-Mercury, is produced under the Network Code, and is not covered by the WGA.

Many daytime talk show hosts — including Barrymore, Hudson, Shepherd and “The View’s” Whoopi Goldberg — are members of SAG-AFTRA, but they are not in violation of the strike rules because their work as talk show performers is covered by a different contract than the one in dispute by actors. (The contract that covers talk shows, game shows, variety shows and soap operas was renewed and ratified by union members in 2022.) Barrymore was defended by SAG-AFTRA, which said in a statement, “Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.”

Regardless of whether a talk show is struck by the WGA or not, all shows returning this fall will grapple with how to handle celebrity guests amid the strikes. Actors who appear as guests will have to follow SAG-AFTRA strike rules, which means they cannot discuss or promote any struck projects. And many actors and writers may opt to not appear at all, no matter what they discuss, in an effort to stand in solidarity with their union.

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