HomeViral‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Latest Talk Show To Return Amid Strike
‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Latest Talk Show To Return Amid Strike
September 14, 2023
“Real Time With Bill Maher” is the latest talk show that will be returning to air, sans writers, amid the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Host and creator Bill Maher announced the news today on X (formerly Twitter), writing, “It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work.”
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…
Bill Maher Announces Return Of ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Amid WGA Strike
In his statement, Maher revealed that the decision was made, despite his support for the striking writers and their issues, with the interest of the show’s staff and below-the-line workers. Maher wrote, “‘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.”
He continued, “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 went on to say, “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. 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.”
According to the host, he intends to “honor the spirit of the strike” by not taking part in a monolog, desk piece, New Rules, editorial, or written pieces that are usually included on the show. He also claims he will inform the audience that doing the show without writers will not be as good as their “normal show.” However, the show will maintain its off-the-cuff panel discussion presentation. Maher also promises the show’s return “will not disappoint.”
Other talk shows that normally employ WGA writers have opted to resume filming this week, such as Drew Barrymore’s “The Drew Barrymore Show,” “The Talk,” and Jennifer Hudson’s “The Jennifer Hudson Show.” The WGA was not pleased with Maher’s announcement and issued their own statement in response on social media.
The WGA statement noted that the guild disagrees with Maher’s comments regarding “the spirit of the strike,” and the members intend to picket the production on this show. It reads, “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.’” It adds. “As a WGA member, @BillMaher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how @RealTimers can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show.”
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.” #WGAstrike 1/3
Maher received some negative reactions for resuming the show, with many seeing it as a move that does not show solidarity with the striking writers. One X user, Bored Dude Laughing, wrote, “I’ve watched that show for the last time.” X owner Elon Musk, wrote, “Maybe worth posting some material on this platform. The reach is enormous.”
Meanwhile, writer Randi Mayhem Singer (“Mrs. Doubtfire”) chimed in, showing her disappointment in Maher’s decision. She wrote, “So YOU get to decide 5 months is the limit? Gotcha. As for ‘nothing happening’ – that’s how strikes often seem. The WGA is waiting for a counter. Despite the AMPTP’s misinformation campaign that it’s our turn. No smart negotiator negotiates with himself by countering a 2nd time.”
Maher debuted “Real Time” back in 2003 following the cancelation of his previous ABC series, “Politically Incorrect.” The show has been on the air for over 20 years and over 630 episodes.
It remains to be seen if Maher sees any repercussions as a WGA member whom the WGA sees in violation of its strike rules by resuming filming of his show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, new episodes of the show will return to HBO on Friday, September 22.
The WGA strike has been ongoing since early May. The actors guild (SAG-AFTRA) declared its own strike against the AMPTP on July 14, which is also still ongoing.