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Monday, October 2, 2023

‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Does U-Turn, Postpones Return Amid Writers’ Strike

Despite previous reports, Bill Maher announced Monday that he would delay the return of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, saying he decided because negotiations are back in play between striking writers’ union the WGA and studios.

“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” he posted to X. “Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table I’m going to delay the return of Real Time, for now, and hope they can finally get this done.”

Earlier in September, Maher said his show would return despite the ongoing writers’ strike, which initially began in May.

The host of the HBO series announced this himself on social media, which also detailed how he says he plans to “honor the spirit of the strike” despite making new episodes. “Real Time is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing. It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work. The writers have important issues that I sympathize with, and hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns. Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily. We all were hopeful this would come to an end after Labor Day, but that day has come and gone, and there still seems to be nothing happening,” he wrote.

“I love my writers, I am one of them, but I’m not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much. I will honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules or editorial, the written pieces that I am so proud of on Real Time,” he continued. “And I’ll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bulls**t and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint.”

The Writers Guild of America West posted on X following Maher’s announcement. “Bill Maher’s decision to go back on the air while his Guild is on strike is disappointing. If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike,’” reads the statement.

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