Amid the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike that began in May, Bill Maher took to Twitter, to unveil the return of his HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher”, without the assistance of writers.
Maher’s show was unexpectedly halted when writers went on strike, campaigning for better pay, minimum staffing in writing rooms, improved residuals, and protocols concerning the application of AI in writing. With the strike showing no signs of resolution, Maher decided to bring the show back, albeit in a different format.
“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,”
“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.”
“But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bullshit and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint.”
This bold move by Maher spurred diverse reactions online. Critics, including fellow liberals, dubbed him a “scab” for seemingly bypassing the picket line. Keith Olbermann, former MSNBC host, was notably scathing in his rebuke. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) also expressed their disappointment and reminded Maher of his obligations as a WGA member during the strike.
Fans can anticipate the show’s return on September 22. While Warner Bros. Discovery chose not to elaborate on Maher’s announcement, they did confirm that “Real Time” would respect the rules of the WGA strike.