For someone with the last name Barrymore, there’s no better television home than Turner Classic Movies.
Legendary actors John, Lionel and Ethel often turn up on the channel in such … well, classic movies as “Dinner at Eight” and “Grand Hotel.” Their most famous descendant now has a place there, too: Drew Barrymore is TCM staple Robert Osborne’s current co-host on the weekly Saturday series “The Essentials,” commenting on the given evening’s attraction before and after the film.
The teaming of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the 1962 thriller “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” is the July 28 feature. The friendly Barrymore explains watching movies “is what I like to do anyway in life, so to do it in a forum where I get to talk about films that I love — with someone I admire — on a channel that’s literally on in my house 24/7, it was just like, ‘I have to do this.’ ”
Newly married, Barrymore says TCM was a unifying force for her and then-husband-to-be Will Kopelman, both big fans of the channel. When she met Osborne at last year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, he brought up the idea of her serving as a guest programmer for one night. She countered by saying, “Well, if you ever need a new co-host for ‘The Essentials’ … .” And shortly after that, the deal was done.
“I’m an aspiring cinephile,” Barrymore notes. “There are a lot of films I love watching because of their mastery, even if they’re not things I want to watch on a Sunday
morning. I think it’s amazing when you can look at cinema in a really entertaining and light way. I love cinema education, and I spend a lot of time studying that, but sometimes you want to get into movies that are masterful and also delightful.”
With an eye toward that, Barrymore and Osborne selected this season’s “Essentials” titles from a list TCM executives provided. Other upcoming attractions include Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in the iconic comedy “Some Like It Hot” (Aug. 4), an encore of Barrymore’s first stint with Osborne; Peter Sellers, James Mason and Sue Lyon in director Stanley Kubrick’s controversial “Lolita” (Aug. 11); and Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the musical “The Band Wagon” (Sept. 1).