Drew Barrymore has bowed out as host of the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards, set for Sunday May 6, in a show of solidarity with striking members of the Writers Guild of America. Barrymore has already agreed to host the 2024 edition of the show.
“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.”
Barrymore is one of the best and buzziest hosts the MTV Movie & TV Awards has booked in recent years. Her daytime talk show, which debuted on Sept. 14, 2020, received seven Daytime Emmy nominations last week, second only to The Kelly Clarkson Show among daytime talk shows. The nods included outstanding daytime talk series and outstanding daytime talk series host.
MTV has heavily promoted Barrymore as host, with frequent on-air promotional spots. The show, set to unfold in front of a live audience at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., will go on, but without a host for the first time in its 31-year history.
While losing a big-name host just two days before a live show is a tough break, there are no hard feelings on MTV’s part. “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, president of music, music talent, programming and events at Paramount Global, and an executive producer of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, told Variety. “…She is not surprisingly, standing in solidarity with the writers, which we have full respect for. She has our full support.”
Though Barrymore won’t be at the live event, she may still play a role in the show. She had already participated in several pre-taped short films — and those pieces are still expected to air. One may open the show.
While the strike has thrown the show into chaos, some elements of the show will not be affected, including the show’s exclusive “sneak peaks” of films targeted at the young demo that watches this show. Some stars had already pre-taped acceptance speeches for awards. The ranks of presenters includes athletes and celebrity chefs and other talent not as directly affected by the strike as actors. The show is also expected to include a live performance.
But other presenters may or may not appear. And the presentation of the Comedic Genius Award to Jennifer Coolidge is up in the air. Also, there will no longer be a red carpet or talent interviews before the show.
Executive producers for the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards are MTV’s Gillmer, Wendy Plaut and Vanessa Whitewolf, along with Den of Thieves’ Jesse Ignjatovic and Barb Bialkowski. Jackie Barba and Alicia Portugal are executives in charge of production and Lisa Lauricella serves as the music talent executive.
This is the 31st edition of this show and the sixth to jointly honor movies and TV.
This isn’t the first time a strike has upended plans for an awards show. The 32nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 7, 1980, was held in the midst of a strike by members of the Screen Actors Guild. Steve Allen and Dick Clark hosted the show, which was held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and broadcast on NBC.
In a show of support for their union, 51 of the 52 nominated performers boycotted the event. Actor Powers Boothe was the only nominated actor to attend. He won outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a special for his portrayal of Jim Jones on CBS’ Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. Acknowledging his decision to show up at the star-less show, he remarked in his acceptance speech, “This is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest.”