Drew Barrymore on how her daytime talk show will differ from the others

Drew Barrymore at the desk of her new talk show
Drew Barrymore at the desk of her new talk show. Pic credit: Courtesy of Ben Watts/CBSTD

When Drew Barrymore began working on the idea of a talk show, it was pre-COVID-19 pandemic, so the pilot she filmed to sell the program to networks looks 100 percent different than the show that is launching today with guests Adam Sandler, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz.

As with any live show launching in the era of Zoom, she and her staff had to figure out how to create a successful talk show where not only the guests are virtual, but also the audience.

When the hourlong show, which is syndicated, so check your local listings, premieres today, it will open and close with live segments with the rest of the hour made up of a mix of celebrity guests, lifestyle pieces, and comedic bits.

The one thing all of the elements will have in common is they will be upbeat.

Drew is looking to elevate, inspire, and entertain in every segment, from human interest stories to happy news to lifestyle segments, giveaways, and celebrity guests.

“I want to have a different approach to conversations, something more casual, something a little more disarming,” Drew said on a Zoom call.

Additionally, Drew also wants to do segments on things that she is examining in her own life that she feels others are experimenting with as well.

“We are trying to reach enlightenment, we are trying to grow, we are trying to figure things out, we are going through uncomfortable changes in our lives,” she continues.

“I want to talk about that stuff, I’m totally into the conversation. I just would love for it not to be topical and surface, whatever we do.”

Following is more of Monsters & Critics’ conversation with Drew on what to expect in Season 1 of her syndicated chatfest.

What element is going to make the show uniquely yours? Kelly Clarkson sings, Ellen gives away money, Rachel Ray cooks, what’s going to be uniquely Drew?

It’s really hard to talk about myself, and I do appreciate your no-nonsense question. You’re like, “What are you bringing?” And it’s hard because sometimes I really am an action-speaks-louder-than-words person.

I hope to not give you a bunch of cheap talk and do my job and see what you think of it a few weeks in. I do know that we have really challenged ourselves technologically.

To think that an old boho hippie like me was going to pick that up and run with it is shocking even to myself.

I love design. I wanted to provide a destination and a resting place for people that I thought was really elevated and a beautiful place to be. And what I really have as my goal and what the team and I talk about every single day is how do we mix a lot of different genres and tones and spices and variety into one show cohesively?

I am not one person; I am not one mood; I am not one thing; I am such a mixed bag myself. I want a show that represents all of the different things that we are interested in and have to tackle and think about and love and want to accomplish and need to laugh and get out of it.

I hope that I can, in some ways, keep you guessing on what’s going to happen next and try and fulfill a lot of different desires. I know I have them for myself, so I’m hoping maybe someone out there is greedy too.

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore prepares for her new talk show. Pic credit: Courtesy of CBSTD

Who have you watched over the years?

Well, I don’t love the word competition, and I don’t love the word imitation, but inspirationally speaking, I love The Daily Show, I love John Oliver and Samantha Bee.

I love Saturday Night Live. For me, that’s a big training ground. I hosted when I was seven years old in 1982; I’ve hosted six times. It’s been incredibly informative to me. There’s a process to that show that’s really invigorating, and it does bring a very collaborative, exciting energy.

I would love for us to benefit from the wisdom of those experiences and bring that approach to the show, and really collaborate with everyone on the team and be an idea factory.

We always talk about how can we come to work and think that our job is so full of possibilities, where we get to try and play and imagine and see what’s working or not. And that’s the kind of atmosphere that makes you feel even luckier to have a job like this.

I loved Johnny Carson. I loved Phil Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, and Oprah. I love Suze Orman. I love the daytime space. I love Ellen. I love Kelly. I love everybody who’s out there working right now and crushing it. I’ve also really loved late night.

I’m not going to lie. I do want to try and bring a little late night to morning because they always say you made it through the day, good for you, now we get to laugh you off to sleep.

I’m like, “I want to start the day that way.”

I love comedy. It’s been a huge calling card for not only the things I want to do in the work that I’ve done, but my own personal lack of ending up in a straitjacket is comedy. I need comedy; comedy is medicine. So, I really want to be true to ourselves.

And I couldn’t take everything so serious all the time. I want to be silly. I am a silly person; I am an imperfect, messy, silly person who’s desperate to figure it out and not get to the end of my life, not having worked really hard on myself.

But I cannot be heavy about it. I refuse to be.

Why are you doing the show from New York? 

This is where I ended up finding myself in life and, ironically, when they called about the show, they were like, “There’s one caveat, it needs to take place in New York.” I was like, “Oh, I just moved here, so that’s cool.”

I’m very excited again with that Saturday Night Live training ground and credo and ethos running around inside of me for this show. New York has an energy there is no question about that.

It’s a city that’s seen everything and has incredible humanity to it. It has an electricity to it. I’m very honored to be doing a show here. It’s humbling to do a show in New York. I hope to bring the pride and respect it deserves.

I love everyone’s story, and I’ve spent my life living around the world for months at a time, getting to know different people in different places. So, although we are in New York, I think that is a perfect place to have a show because there’s so many different places represented within this city and island and state.

I really hope to reach a vast group of people and close chasms of differences and talk about what we have in common. Divisiveness is everywhere; you can turn to any channel to find it.

I’m sure it’s incredibly naive, but our intention is to reach out and have a collective experience here.

How did you learn to be a good guest?

How did I try to be a good guest? I was naughty, actually. Me naughty, can you believe it?

I was naughty because I never wanted to do a pre-interview. I never wanted to know what questions were coming my way, and I didn’t want to give answers like, here’s the anecdote, and here’s why I’m going to hit this.

Spontaneity, for me, was crucial. So, I like to go in blind and play because life is just too short not to.

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