NEW YORK (AP) – Drew Barrymore sets a high standard for herself as she joins the world of daytime talk shows on Monday. She wants to emulate David Letterman and Howard Stern as interviewers.
Both men became media stars through their comedy – ironic for Letterman, primitive for Stern. Still, as their careers grew, every man became particularly adept at disarming guests to get beyond the stilted “ what have you been up to lately ” conversations.
“We are all humans on this planet going through our lives and our journeys and there is a way to connect to that,” Barrymore said. ‘We don’t have to poke. I have no intention of overthrowing anyone. But at the same time, I just like to go under the layers. I can’t stand the surface. I’ve never lived in that room. “
Adapted for the coronavirus era, “The Drew Barrymore Show” is distributed by CBS Television. It airs live at 9am in cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami, and at 2pm in Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco and others.
Several daring names will help the 45-year-old actress through her pivotal first week: Reese Witherspoon, Jane Fonda, Charlize Theron, Tyra Banks and, in the first show alone, former co-stars Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Adam Sandler.
Letterman and Stern developed their skills through years of hard work. For Barrymore, it hopes that the public’s sympathy and familiarity with a star they’ve seen growing up since she was a 7-year-old in “ET” will give her the opportunity to learn by doing.
Bill Carroll, a veteran television consultant and expert in the syndication market, said he was impressed that Barrymore ranks high.
“It’s good to model yourself into someone who is an unconventional interviewer,” he said. “Both men turned out to be excellent but unconventional in the way they approach things.”
Kelly Clarkson’s recent success has given hope to people trying to get into the competitive world of syndicated talks, he said.
CBS ‘promotion of Barrymore’s show harks back to her performance starring Johnny Carson as a little girl in the 1980s, a reminder to viewers that they know her. Yes, some might consider Barrymore a bit crazy and hippie-dippie (“we’re all human beings on this planet”), but it’s more endearing than annoying.
Actor John Barrymore’s daughter underwent drug rehabilitation at an age when most people were concerned about braces, as well as three divorces and motherhood, all in the public eye. She has starred in such films as “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates” and played magnanimous characters that are impossible to root against.
She has had memorable moments as a guest on a talk show, such as in 1995 when she danced on the table and flashed Letterman, her secret crush.
“Everyone my age grew up with her,” said Elaine Bauer Brooks, director of development at CBS Television. ‘She lives her life in front of all of us. She’s had her mistakes and her victories, and she’s owned them all along. There is a warm feeling about her and the feeling that she wants her to win. “
Barrymore, who last produced and starred the Netflix series ‘Santa Clarita Diet’, said the time was right to try a talk show. She will have a schedule better suited to a single mom raising two girls than most entertainment jobs.
Her show is originally from New York, where she now lives. It will be broadcast live in the morning to respond to what’s happening in the world, but that’s only up to a point. She will focus on celebrity, self-help and comedy segments and leave politics to others.
“I find politics extremely alienating on one side or the other, depending on who is watching,” she said, “and I don’t want people to feel unwelcome, judged or disapproved here.”
Creators of “The Drew Barrymore Show” had to adapt on the fly to COVID-19. There will be no studio audience, although they will try to electronically link to an audience at home. Through technology, Barrymore will be able to interview a guest who appears to be seated in a comfortable chair across from her, even when they are across the country.
Barrymore described herself as a “naughty” talk show guest over the years for avoiding the pre-show interview, where guests discuss beforehand the seemingly spontaneous stories they will later tell when the cameras are on.
Barrymore appreciated real spontaneity – “I like to go blind and play because life is just too short not to” – but now she’s on the other side. And yes, her staff will conduct pre-show interviews. It’s helpful to know how far someone will be willing to tackle certain topics, she said.
“I’ve got all my stuff in there, and I know how raw and fragile it feels,” she said. “I don’t want people to feel that way. But I do want to talk about things. I’m not shy. I haven’t had the luxury of being shy in my life. “