Comedian Bill Maher has caved to striking Hollywood writers by reversing his decision to re-start production on his HBO talk show Real Time.
His decision follows a similar one made by Drew Barrymore, who has announced her talk show will no longer be taping again after Hollywood actors including Bradley Whitford and Alyssa Milano ganged up to shame her.
Bill Maher announced his decision Monday in a post on X, citing the recent announcement that the Writers Guild of America will soon be heading back to the negotiating table with studios and streamers.
My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike. 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…
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 18, 2023
Maher became the target of vitriolic hate when he announced that he would be heading back to the show. Among the nastiest comments came from far-leftist journalist Keith Olbermann.
“Without writers, the new weekly SCAB edition of ‘Real Time With @billmaher’ will be 83 seconds long,” Olbermann wrote. “As somebody who’s known you since 1978: Fuck you, Bill, you selfish and unfunny scumbag.
When Maher announced his return last week, he made it abundantly clear that he would not be breaking union rules.
“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, or concerns,” he wrote, in a reference to the numerous crew members and other staffers who have been forced into long-term unemployment.
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…
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 14, 2023
Drew Barrymore said Sunday that she also won’t be returning to the studio, as previously announced,
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore posted 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.”