Sherri Shepherd explains her show's return amid the WGA strike

Sherri Shepherd explains her show's return amid the WGA strike

Drew Barrymore, Bill Maher, and more talk show hosts have delayed their season premieres until the resolution of the Hollywood writers' strike — but Sherri Shepherd's Sherri returned for its second season Monday, and the host broke down why she's back on the air in the season premiere.

"This summer you all may have seen your favorite actors and Hollywood stars have been on the picket lines with the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes," Shepherd said during Monday's broadcast. "There has been so much confusion about who can work and who can't work. Well, for me, I am a SAG-AFTRA actress and I actually marched with some of my colleagues while I was in Los Angeles recently. But here's the thing: Talk shows, in general, fall under a different union contract code, so we are allowed to come back unless you are a WGA show. Now, the Sherri show is not a WGA show. We have never employed WGA writers, so us coming back to work is not crossing the picket line."

Shepherd went on to explain her lack of WGA writers. "As a comic, my comedic take on the headlines is my voice. I write my jokes. I'm the writer, and I'm not in the WGA. I have the producers who help me shape my words, which is why we don't have WGA writers over here at Sherri."

Shepherd also broke down the causes for which SAG-AFTRA and the WGA are striking. "One of the things that we are fighting for is better residuals," she said. "And I'm gonna tell you, residuals help us… When I was going through a time where I didn't work, residuals kept the lights on. They helped me pay my bills. My residual payments came into play when my son Jeffrey was born at 25 weeks, those residual payments along with insurance helped me. So good residual payments are important to actors."

The host denounced the use of artificial intelligence in creative spaces as well. "[A.I.] could replace working actors from working. And it could replace writers," Shepherd said. "And I am here to tell you, as an actress: A.I., you are not going to replace all of this sass… I will not stand for it. A.I., you cannot replace this humor, you cannot replace this sass, and A.I., you cannot replace these boobs."

Sherri Shepherd
Sherri Shepherd

SHERRI/Debmar-Mercury Sherri Shepherd

Earlier this summer, fellow actress and daytime TV host Whoopi Goldberg also addressed how and why some shows — like The View — are attempting to push through the dual strikes while remaining on the air.

"We work under something, a different kind of contract, which is called the Network Code, which means that we are allowed to continue on, as we're not actors at the table, acting The View," she said. "It's a different kind of contract, so that's why we're still able to work, and we support the actors who are out on strike as we do with the Writers Guild."

Goldberg added, "That's why we're working today, we want it to all work out for everybody because nobody wants to see folks on strike because it's never good when you have to make a noise to say, 'Hey, we're here.'"

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