Bill Maher Reverses Decision to Restart Show

14:38 18.09.2023 - The New York Times

Bill Maher said on Monday that he would delay the return of his show, just days after he had said it would resume despite the ongoing screenwriters' strike against Hollywood studios.

Mr. Maher said he reversed his decision to restart his weekly HBO show, "Real Time With Bill Maher," because contract negotiations between Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters were set to resume this week.

Mr. Maher said in a post on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that his earlier decision to restart the show - which he announced last week - came when "there was no end in sight" to the strike. His change of heart followed similar reversals from talk show hosts like Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Hudson over the weekend.

Ms. Barrymore said on Sunday that she was pausing the restart of her talk show, "The Drew Barrymore Show," after facing a barrage of criticism, including being dropped as the host of the National Book Awards.

Ms. Barrymore had previously announced that the show was returning, despite the strike, and had doubled down on her decision to bring it back after initial criticism. But in an Instagram post over the weekend, Ms. Barrymore said that she apologized to "anyone she had hurt," and that the show's premiere would be paused until the strike was over.

After Ms. Barrymore's announcement, shows like "The Jennifer Hudson Show," which is produced by Warner Bros., and "The Talk," which runs on CBS, also rolled back their decisions to broadcast new episodes.

Mr. Maher, in previously announcing his decision to restart the show, said that "I'm not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much." The Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike against Hollywood studios since May, had said it was planning to picket Mr. Maher's show.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 2:38 PM /

themes:  Hollywood

Comedian Bill Maher postpones 'Real Time' show return as writer talks resume

American comedian Bill Maher said on Monday he was postponing the return to his HBO political show "Real Time," becoming the second talk show host to reverse plans after an outcry from striking Hollywood writers and actors.

Drew Barrymore said on Sunday she had backed off plans to bring back her daytime talk show while strikes in Hollywood continue and apologized "to anyone I have hurt."

Maher said he will delay the return to the show "for now," he wrote on X, formerly know as Twitter, now that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the studios have decided to return to the negotiating table.

The WGA, on strike since early May, said they will resume talks on Wednesday.

"My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike," said Maher, who is a WGA member. Maher said he hoped "they can finally get this done."

The WGA said it was "difficult to imagine" how Maher could host the show and still comply with strike rules. The union said members would picket the filming of the show.

The proposed return of "The Drew Barrymore Show" to CBS drew picketers from the striking writers' and actors' unions as taping resumed last week.

Following Barrymore, other popular talk shows, including The Talk and "The Jennifer Hudson Show" will not be returning during the WGA strike and the Screen Actors Guild strike.

The Talk is pausing its season premiere scheduled for Sept. 18.

"We will continue to evaluate plans for a new launch date," a statement from CBS said.

Warner Bros. Discovery also confirmed "The Jennifer Hudson Show" has pushed back the planned premiere date.

Bill Maher delays 'Real Time' return as talks with writer resume

In a surprising turn of events, American comedian Bill Maher announced on Monday that he would be postponing the return of his hit HBO show, "Real Time With Bill Maher." This decision came just days after Maher had initially stated that the show would resume despite the ongoing screenwriters' strike against Hollywood studios. However, with contract negotiations between the studios and the striking screenwriters set to resume this week, Maher had a change of heart.

 ..... But now that negotiations were set to resume, he felt it was necessary to delay the show's return. Maher, who is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), expressed hope that the negotiations would finally bring an end to the strike.

Maher's decision to postpone the show followed similar reversals from other talk show hosts, including Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Hudson. Over the weekend, Barrymore announced that she would be pausing the restart of her talk show, "The Drew Barrymore Show," after facing significant backlash. Notably, she was dropped as the host of the National Book Awards due to the controversy surrounding her decision. ..... The impact of the strikes on the entertainment industry is becoming increasingly apparent as more shows and hosts reconsider their plans amidst the ongoing labor disputes.

 ..... They have made it clear that they are committed to fighting for their demands and have organized picket lines and demonstrations to bring attention to their cause. The union had previously expressed concerns about Maher's decision to restart his show, stating that it would be difficult for him to comply with strike rules while hosting the program. In response, the WGA announced that its members would picket the filming of Maher's show.

This latest development in the ongoing strikes raises questions about the future of talk shows and the entertainment industry as a whole. With prominent hosts like Maher, Barrymore, and Hudson reconsidering their plans, it seems that the industry is feeling the pressure from the striking unions. As negotiations between the WGA and the studios resume this week, all eyes will be on the outcome, as the fate of countless shows and the livelihoods of below-the-line workers hang in the balance.

Bill Maher reverses decision to bring back show amid strike negotiations, hopes they 'finally get this done'

Maher wrote that his initial decision was made because there was 'no end in sight to this strike'.

After initially declaring his show would return amid the writers strike, talk show host Bill Maher announced Monday he has reversed that decision for the time being.

"Real Time with Bill Maher's" 21st season was cut short after Hollywood writers went on strike in May. Writers are asking for higher pay, a guaranteed number of writers per room, better residuals and safeguards around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the writing process in their list of demands. With no foreseeable end to the strike, Maher initially revealed that the show would return without writers and simply skip the segments that rely on writers.

"Real Time is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing," he wrote last week. "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," noting later that "there still seems to be nothing happening" in terms of negotiations.

However, there now appears to be progress in the negotiations.

"The WGA and AMPTP now have a confirmed schedule to bargain this week, starting on Wednesday," the writers guild wrote in a memo to members on Monday morning. "You might not hear from us in the coming days while we are negotiating, but know that our focus is getting a fair deal for writers as soon as possible."

With the news of negotiations resuming, Maher postponed the return of "Real Time with Bill Maher" out of solidarity.

 ..... 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's is not the only major show to change its plans to return to television amid the contentious strike.

Actress and show host Drew Barrymore recently decided to pause her show's return after immense backlash to the announcement that it would return despite the strike not being resolved.

CBS' The Talk and the syndicated series "The Jennifer Hudson Show" were both set to return Monday but put those plans on hold.

A statement from CBS provided to FOX News Digital read, "'The Talk' is pausing its season premiere scheduled for September ..... 

Deadline reported "The Jennifer Hudson Show" had similar discussions, including urging from host Jennifer Hudson, to put the premiere on hold.

FOX News Digital reached out to both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Warner Media and did not receive an immediate reply.

For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit

FOX News' Kristine Parks and Elizabeth Stanton contributed to this report.

Drew Barrymore to pause show until Hollywood writers' strike ends


On Sunday the actor released a statement on Instagram that said: "I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show's premiere until the strike is over."

Barrymore also expressed her "deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt."

Barrymore on Friday had issued a video on Instagram saying she was going forward with plans to resume her talk show next week because so many jobs were on the line, but the post was deleted later on Friday.

Crew members on the show have been out of work since the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike began in May and shut down production.

Other talk shows have also announced plans to return to television. Real Time host Bill Maher said he was bringing back his HBO show without written pieces such as a monologue and would focus on debates with guests.


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