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HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher' to return during Writers Guild strike

Bill Maher says his show, without writers, "will not be as good."
Vivien Killilea
Getty Images
Bill Maher says his show, without writers, "will not be as good."

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher will soon be returning to air, despite the ongoing writer's strike.

Maher posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the show will be coming back without any writers or writing. "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,"he wrote.

"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."

The Writer's Guild of America responded by calling his plan "disappointing" on X, saying the show will have a difficult time going forward "without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place." The guild plans on picketing the show.

Hollywood screenwriters have been on strike since May. Their demands from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers include increased pay, better deals on residuals, and protections from artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors, has also been on strike since July, over similar labor disputes with the AMPTP.

Maher has spoken out against the strike previously, calling the WGA's demands "kooky" on his podcast. "What I find objectionable about the philosophy of this strike is it seems to be – they have morphed a long way from the 2007 strike – where they kind of believe you're owed a living as a writer. And you're not," he said.

'Real Time' is joining a number of other talk shows returning to television. Both Sherri Shepherd and Jennifer Hudson have new episodes of their shows set to air on Monday. Drew Barrymore announced she would be returning to television soon, which led to her being dropped as host from the National Book Awards.

Recently, late night talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Seth Meyers launched their podcast Strike Force Five as a way of making money to support the staff on their shows during the strike.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong
Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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