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

18:00 18.09.2023 - FOX News, Alexander Hall

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.

"My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike," he wrote on Monday. "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 18. We will continue to evaluate plans for a new launch date."

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.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 6:00 PM /

themes:  Hollywood

Bill Maher Reverses Decision to Restart Show

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.

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.

 ..... 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. ..... 

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

Keith Olbermann trashes Bill Maher for bringing HBO show back amid writer strike: 'F- you, Bill'

Olbermann attacked Maher as a 'selfish and unfunny scumbag'.

Left-wing commentator Keith Olbermann cursed out comedian Bill Maher after the HBO host said he would bring his show back amid the writers strike.

Olbermann took to social media platform X Thursday to say, "F- you, Bill," after Maher announced he would continue producing and airing episodes of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" while writers are still on strike against major industry studios.

Maher made the announcement Wednesday on the platform, stating, "Real Time is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing. ..... Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily."


Olbermann slammed the announcement shortly after it was made, targeting Maher personally in his post. Sharing a Variety article about the news, the former MSNBC commentator commented, "Without writers, the new weekly SCAB edition of 'Real Time With @billmaher' will be 83 seconds long."

He added, "As somebody who's known you since 1978: F- you, Bill, you selfish and unfunny scumbag."

In his original announcement Maher added, "And I'll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop."

But he noted, "the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bulls-t and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint."

Drew Barrymore received similar ire for announcing the return of her shows amid the ongoing strike.

The host of "The Drew Barrymore Show" posted on X this week, "To be clear, our talk show actually wrapped on April 20th so we never had to shut down the show. However, I am also making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me."

She added, "I own this choice??¦ Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time."

However, social media users slammed Barrymore's decision. One wrote, "Writers made you your career. They gave you lines. You wouldn't have gotten where you are without them. I always thought of you as someone with great empathy. Not anymore. Not if you do this."

 ..... Discovery said it did not have anything to add to Maher's statement, but reiterated the show would comply with the WGA strike.

"In compliance with the WGA strike, the series will return without writers and therefore will not have any written pieces including a monologue, desk piece, New Rules, or editorial," a spokesperson said to FOX News Digital.

Maher did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

Fox News' Kristine Parks and Caroline Thayer contributed to this story.


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.

'The Talk' and 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' cancel premieres last minute, after Drew Barrymore caves to pressure

Barrymore announced her decision to not resume production of her talk show on Sunday.

Following Drew Barrymore's decision to pause her show's return after immense backlash, other talk shows are following suit.


All three shows use WGA writers in their productions but had been planning on returning without them for their fall seasons despite the ongoing strike.

Other shows, such as "Live with Kelly and Mark," "The Tamron Hall Show" and "The Sherri Shepherd Show," are returning or currently airing but are able to do so because they do not use union writers on their staffs. The writers strike has been ongoing since May 2, and the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, joined them in July.

Sherri Shepherd addressed her show's return Monday, clarifying the distinction on why some shows are cleared to air and others aren't.

"But here's the thing: Talk shows in general fall under a different union contract code, so we are allowed to come back - unless you are a WGA show. Now, 'The Sherri Shepherd Show' is not a WGA show," she explained.

"We have never employed WGA writers. So us coming back to work is not crossing the picket line," Shepherd continued. "And as a comic, my comedic take on the headlines is my voice. I write my jokes. I'm the writer. And I'm not in the WGA. I have the producers, who help me shape my words, which is why we don't have WGA writers over here at 'Sherri.'"

She added, "My heart is breaking for all of the people that cannot work right now, and I hope that our industry can get this strike resolved soon. I stand in solidarity with my union."

The whirlwind of delayed premieres comes after a week of negative responses to Barrymore's initial announcement that her talk show would return without its union writing staff.

After posting a video on social media where she explained and defended her decision, the "E.T." star announced Sunday she was putting the show's return on hold.

"I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show's premiere until the strike is over," she wrote in a statement on Instagram.

"I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today."

"We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon," Barrymore concluded.

"We support Drew's decision to pause the show's return and understand how complex and difficult this process has been for her," a CBS Media Ventures spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

Fox News Digital's Caroline Thayer contributed to this report.

All rights to the materials belong to the sources indicated under the heading of each news and their authors.