Bill Maher also reverses course on his talk show, hits pause

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Yesterday we covered Drew Barrymore bowing to public pressure to put her show on hold amid the strikes. I followed your comments and saw how the nuances of strike rules were making it confusing to track which shows were scabbing and which weren’t. (The one thing that seemed to be universally agreed upon was that wallpaper should never go on the ceiling.) I’ve been getting confused too! And make no mistake that it’s an intentional tactic from the studios. Hopefully this helps: talk show hosts are covered by a totally different contract with SAG-AFTRA than the one on strike, so anytime a statement reads “we are in compliance with the SAG-AFTRA strike rules” it’s nothing more than a distraction. The issue at hand is whether the talk show has WGA writers on staff. If they do, the show should halt production until the WGA strike is over. Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Hudson’s talk shows each employ WGA writers, as does The Talk, and all three confirmed on Sunday that they would be on hold. Now another show has followed suit, and I honestly was not expecting this one. Less than a full week after announcing Real Time would return without its writers, Bill Maher, Sylvester the Cat lookalike and WGA member himself, has reversed course and is pausing the show’s return. Bravo, Bill. You’re a hero to the working man.

Bill Maher has changed his mind and isn’t bringing back his HBO talk show amid the ongoing writer’s strike.

“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 known as 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,” he added. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and studios are set to resume negotiations Wednesday, raising renewed hopes that the two sides can reach a deal to end the several months-long strike.

Last week, Maher said he would bring back his talk show, which ignited outrage from members of the WGA since his show employs a number of union members.

Maher wrote last week that “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,” adding that his staff is still struggling despite his personal assistance.

Maher, who is a member of the WGA, also had said he was not willing “to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much.”

In response, the WGA posted on X last week that it is “difficult to imagine how (‘Real Time’) can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show.” It has not yet issued a statement about Maher’s reversal.

Maher’s show airs on HBO and streams on Max. HBO is owned by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

[From CNN]

The WGA and AMPTP confirmed yesterday that they would resume talks this week. I truly hope studios are feeling the heat, like HBO and other Warner Bros. Discovery networks (including Cinemax, DC, New Line Cinema, TBS and TNT). But the timing did hand Maher a convenient angle for delivering his non-apology for being a scab. No “I’m sorry for backstabbing my fellow writers,” just “finally, those other guys are dealing with their problem.” I guess it checks out with this being the same man who said writers wanting a living wage was a “kooky” demand (again, he is a writer himself). And yet his reasoning last week for bringing the show back was because the rest of his staff were struggling. For someone who came this close to working without his writers, it sure seems he could use some right now to help make sense of his statements.

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Photos credit: JPI Studios/Avalon and Getty

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21 Responses to “Bill Maher also reverses course on his talk show, hits pause”

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  1. Brassy Rebel says:

    With or without writers, he’s a mess.

    • Barbiem says:

      Actually surprised. I thought he was gonna keep his lil messy show on. I cant stand this man.

      • Lightpurple says:

        I suspect he realized the only guests he would get to cross the picket lines would be the far right fascists and the show would be super boring

  2. girl_ninja says:

    Not Sylvester the cat?!?! Ma’am please…😂😂 F!ck Bill Maher forever.

    • ML says:

      Thufferin’ thuccotash! Not Sylvester indeed!

      I didn’t expect Bill Maher to backtrack, however, notice how he tries to spin the situation? Drew is a scab, but under public pressure she at least realized that her actions were wrong and hurtful. BM is totally incapable of that. Those pictures of him shaking Marilyn Manson’s hand and smiling are very telling.

      • Eurydice says:

        Marilyn Manson was in New Hampshire court yesterday for spitting and blowing his nose on a camerawoman at one of his concerts – fined $1,200, 20 hours community service and for the next 2 years he has to notify the police of any upcoming concerts in NH.

  3. Sue E Generis says:

    Very surprising that he would do the right thing.

  4. Well wonders never cease.

  5. Sean says:

    This has always been about his ego. He goes crazy when he doesn’t have a live audience to regularly feed off of.

    I was still watching him during the 2020 lockdown. He and a small, socially distanced crew were still producing new episodes of his show from his home. He was doing his best, however it was obvious he was crawling out of his skin because he didn’t have the live reaction of an audience to boost his ego.

    Glad he was called out on this and back tracked.

    • PunkyMomma l says:

      Watched him during the lockdown as well. Totally agree on your point regarding his need for a live audience. Additionally, when Maher doesn’t have an audience it’s so apparent his “comedy” lacks wit and insight—his routine is basically saying whatever keeps him alive in MSM.

      George Carlin he is not.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    As I said above, nobody to the left of Franco or Mussolini was going to cross his picket line and he realized half his viewership wouldn’t tune in to watch Charlie Kirk agreeing with Candace Owen and Jim Jordan

  7. Flamingo says:

    I am hopeful that the reverse Uno will force the hand of Studios to come to the table and make a fair deal. The Studio execs would have been more than happy to limp along with new shows without writers. If it meant they could have original content. Now that is off the table. Hopefully, everyone can get back to work now.

  8. Flowerlake says:

    “My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike”

    And thereby subtly blaming the strikers and not the rich studios that are not paying them a living wage

  9. Eurydice says:

    On, off, whatever – still won’t watch him.

  10. Southern Fried says:

    Sincerely hope his show never comes back on.

  11. Jemimaleopard says:

    I’m Irish so idk who Bill Maher is but I was on the homepage and saw the header photo for this article, thought it was Meryl Streep with a new haircut and I was like “wtf did Meryl do to her hair!!”

  12. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I truly wonder which writers will willingly work for him in the future. I don’t think he realizes how much self-inflicted damage has already been done.

  13. Concern Fae says:

    Apparently Maher and Barrymore are in different predicaments. He works for HBO, her show is syndicated. The contracts for syndicated shows have a required number of shows per year, with penalties for missing them, including canceling off the contract. No strike exceptions. I don’t remember when they are going to reach the point of missing the annual total, but it will be interesting to see what happens. These shows aren’t indie, so a studio would have to sign off on the contract.

  14. Mel says:

    This guy is insufferable! He doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and seeing as he has a pretty high opinion of himself, the math does itself. However, I don’t like the statement that he put out. “Now that both sides have a greed to resume negotiations“. This should be “now that the AMPTP has finally pulled its head out of its butt and agreed to come to the table”. Writing “both sides” makes it seem like this strike is because of two stubborn and mean kids who just won’t play nice with each other. This has all been on the AMPTP. The strike has gone on long enough that we know who’s responsible for the situation.

  15. Kate says:

    Only here to defend wallpaper on the ceiling in certain designs. Not if the walls and ceiling paper are the same, but using the ceiling as an accent is actually cool sometimes

  16. Khate's Mourning Wig says:

    Eew Marilyn Manson.

    I usually like calico cats, but Bill Maher’s hair looks hideous.