NEW YORK, N.Y. – Clarion Area graduate Chelsea White is one of four writers for CBS’s “The Drew Barrymore Show” that premiered last week. The 60-minute talk show is a first for movie-star Drew and is White’s first work on a major network show.
“Over the last 15 years I’ve been doing a variety of things from producing to writing and show running a couple of times,” White said. “But now I’m concentrating on this because I knew that this was going to be a big undertaking for all of us — not only launching a brand new show which is always an undertaking, but launching it in a pandemic.”
The show is recorded live in New York Monday through Friday and appears at various times throughout the country. In Pittsburgh, “The Drew Barrymore Show” airs at 3 p.m. on The CW, the sister station of KDKA.
When the show was first being developed, there was no pandemic. Things changed rapidly after that and a new approach was used to get the program on air.
“From what I understand, Drew was really the one who pushed said ‘I don’t want to be doing it from my living room. If we’re going to do this. I want to find a way that we can make sure its elevated and unique and special.’ She really pushed and asked how we can have the necessary crew and staff in the studio safely.”
Doing a show remotely and making it still look like a full-blown talk show was a challenge.
“It’s definitely a learning curve, working this way on a production that’s so big and to not have all been together doing it to begin with, and then having to go work, it’s like fully coming together as a team for the first time.
“She wanted to bring as much comedy to the show and she realizes it is a daytime show and there are certain things that people want to see in daytime television,” White continued. “We wanted to honor that and make sure that the audience is finding things that they’re interested in, you know, reaching out to parents obviously through the mom. That’s what she likes to talk about anyways — she loves talking about being a mom, being a parent, relationships, friendship. So we really kind of hit all of that and try to work all of that in from her perspective.”
It was White’s past comedy work for MTV that gave her an edge in being selected as a writer the Barrymore show. Among many other projects, she was also a producer-writer for the hit MTV series “Girl Code” for each of its four seasons and is a contributing author of the series’ companion book.
“You may think television is so big, but even in New York City it’s such a small industry and one of my close friends and colleagues was involved in the pilot of the Drew show,” White said. “She’s now the co-executive producer.
“At that time there was a different show runner who was looking for writers. The showrunner was interested in the Girl Code show that used to be on MTV. My friend said, well, I just happen to be best friends with the producer-writer from that show. So that was kind of how I got my foot in the door.”
There are a number of other daytime talk shows, but White thinks it will do well with its blend of humor and news. On the pilot, Barrymore surprised a family by redesigning part of their home. CBS doesn’t have another talk show like Barrymore’s, and creators are hoping it finds an audience.
“In a way it is a traditional daytime thing, but it also happens to be a Drew passion to be an interior designer,” White said. “It’s finding those things that work in daytime, but really like making sure all things funnel through her. It has to feel authentic to Drew.”
White’s resume includes stints as the co-creator, executive producer and host of the Bravo digital series “Adulting,” creator and host of the cat-themed web series, “Show Me Your Kitty” and weekly Instagram Live talk show “What a Delight! With Chelsea White,” co-host of the New York Times-recommended dating podcast “Ghosted Stories,” and host for BTRtoday’s “BreakThruTV.”
She also served as co-executive producer for VH1’s “Grown & Sexy” and showrunner for MTV’s “Singled Out” digital reboot which garnered record-breaking views for original content on MTV’s YouTube channel.
According to White’s webpage, she lives in Astoria, N.Y. with her cats, Tanooki and Miranda Hobbes.