When Hollywood stopped making big screen romantic comedies after the '00s, there was an entire group of actresses who were forced to pivot their careers to something else. Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Reese, and Drew Barrymore were all members of this group. Today's news that Drew Barrymore's daytime talk show has been picked up and will premiere in fall 2020 has got me thinking about the career choices these actresses have made since the death of their genre. Reese moved into prestige vehicles on the big screen and mainly on the small screen these days. Sandra Bullock appears in far fewer movies than she did fifteen years ago, but when she does pop up it's mostly in prestige fare. Cameron Diaz retired from acting entirely. Kate Hudson, well I already wrote a thing about what Kate Hudson did. Nearly all of these women have started lifestyle brands or companies, following in the footsteps of the Empress of Celebrity Lifestyle Brands, Gwyneth Paltrow. Drew's Flower brand now includes fragrances, beauty products, sunglasses, home decor, and more. But she hasn't made a movie since 2015's underrated Miss You Already. She has done television, including starring the wonderfully zany Netflix sitcom Santa Clarita Diet and as a judge on the flop reality competition show The World's Best. And now she's doing a daytime talk show. One would think that as a fan of Drew's I would be delighted at this news. An hour of Drew every single day? Awesome, right? Well, not to me.
To put it simply, Drew Barrymore is a movie star and this is no gig for a movie star. True, it's been ages since she's been in a hit movie, but is she really no bigger than the likes of Rachael Ray and Kelly Ripa? While it will be nice to see more of Drew's trademark bubbly personality on display, she's an actress and I would like to see her act. If Hollywood won't make the kind of movie that used to be her bread and butter, then she can do other kinds of movies! I would love to see her take the Reese route and produce prestige projects for her to star in (Drew, after all, has had her own production company for a heck of a lot longer than Reese has). Directors like Tarantino and Scorsese should be beating down her door asking for her to star in their next films (although that would require Scorsese to do a film with a decent-sized part for a woman in the first time in decades). Look at what the Safdie Brothers did with Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. Why can't Drew get a movie like that? Just imagine how amazing a collaboration would be between Drew and another daughter of a Hollywood dynasty, Sofia Coppola. That would be epic.
I guess part of the problem is that people don't see Drew as a serious actress and so she isn't thought of for these roles. But have they forgotten Grey Gardens? She has it in her. All it would take is one great role to make her an Oscar winner. Imagine her reteaming with her ET director Steven Spielberg for one of his Oscar-friendly historical dramas - the campaign narrative writes itself!
Or maybe it's time for the rom-com to have a renaissance. If Netflix can give Scorsese a $160 million dollars to make The Irishman, they can give the same amount to Nancy Meyers to make a movie. I would love to see that happen.
I won't ignore the practical reasons Drew would want to do a talk show instead of pursuing film parts. The schedule would be a lot more stable and she wouldn't have to leave town for months at a time, which I'm sure she doesn't want to do with two young daughters. And it's not like she needs to work at all, so part of her must genuinely want to do this. Which is a shame because it's probably not even going to be successful!
Daytime is a crowded, crowded field. Just ask Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Jeff Probst, Kris Jenner, Nate Berkus, Anderson Cooper, and Bethenny Frankel, all of whom had their entries into the genre promptly canceled. Queen Latifah didn't even last two years! And what will Drew's show even be like? She's not qualified to give it a news bent, and she's not the type to delve into Ricki Lake-style trash. So that leaves entertainment, a niche already dominated by Ellen. With Kelly Clarkson having just debuted a knock-off of Ellen's show, will audiences really want another one?
Let's be honest: am I going to watch this show? Every day. Every single day I will watch this show. Will I try to get tickets to be in the studio audience? Of course I will! But I guess I'm just disappointed that the death of the rom-com was the death of Drew's film career because it really didn't have to be. Of the group of stranded stars, she was perhaps the most uniquely positioned to survive a career transformation, having already made several. She went to from a child star to a troubled child star to a '90s sex symbol to a rom-com queen. And now, I suppose, she'll be transitioning into being just another celebrity with a failed talk show. Sigh.