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Bill Maher will not return to his HBO show Real Time this week.
The comedian says he’ll hold off on resuming production on his weekly late night show “for now” after news late last week that the Writers Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are working to set a time for a new round of contract negotiations.
“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” Maher wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “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.”
Maher said Sept. 13 that he would bring his long-running HBO show back without writers, citing members of the show’s staff who are “struggling mightily” as the writers strike has gone on for more than five months. “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,” Maher — a member of the WGA — said in announcing his decision.
Real Time would not feature an opening monologue, desk piece, “New Rules” segment or any other prewritten material, Maher said. The decision to return drew criticism from the WGA, which called Maher’s move “disappointing” in a statement and added, “As a WGA member, Bill Maher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how Real Time can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place.”
Maher’s reversal follows that of several daytime talk shows — CBS’ The Talk and syndicated shows hosted by Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Hudson — that employ WGA writers to delay their premieres. Like Maher, the daytime talkers faced pointed criticism about their initial decisions to resume production, all of which were walked back over the weekend.
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