NEW YORK – Drew Barrymore is setting a high standard for herself as she joins the world of daytime talk show hosts on Monday. She wants to emulate David Letterman and Howard Stern as interviewers.
Both men became media stars through their comedy — ironic for Letterman, crude for Stern. Yet each man, as their careers lengthened, became particularly skilled at disarming guests to get beyond stilted “what have you been up to lately” conversations.
“We’re all human beings on this planet going through our lives and our journeys and there’s a way to connect through that,” Barrymore said. “We don’t have to poke. I’m not looking to mess someone over. But at the same time, I just like to go in beneath the layers. I can’t stand the surface. I’ve never lived in that space.”
“The Drew Barrymore Show,” retrofitted for the coronavirus era, is being distributed by CBS Television. It will air live at 9 a.m. in cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami, and at 2 p.m. in Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco and others.
Several bold-faced names will help the 45-year-old actress through her crucial first week: Reese Witherspoon, Jane Fonda, Charlize Theron, Tyra Banks and, on 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, the hope is that likability and the audience’s familiarity with a star they’ve watched grow up since she was a 7-year-old in “E.T.” will give her the chance to learn by doing.
Bill Carroll, a veteran television consultant and expert in the syndication market, said he’s impressed that Barrymore is shooting high.
“It’s good to look at modeling yourself after someone who is an unconventional interviewer,” he said. “Both of these men turned out to be excellent but unconventional in the way they approach things.”