Real Time with Bill Maher will return this Friday after Maher reversed his unpopular decision to resume the show during the WGA strike. Now that the strike has officially ended, Maher's talk show can resume production with its writers this week.
Maher initially planned to return last week in a truncated show that would have just featured a panel of guests — no opening monologue, no “New Rules” or anything that required his show's WGA writers. Drew Barrymore made a similar decision about the return of her talk show. Still, both she and Maher drew heavy criticism from the WGA and social media about resuming their respective shows without their writers. Barrymore reversed her decision to return first, prompting several other talk shows — including Real Time with Bill Maher — that employ WGA writers to do the same.
In a short X/Twitter post, Maher wrote, “My writers and Real Time are back! See you Friday Night!” Maher's last show was on April 28, with Elon Musk as the guest.
Real Time with Bill Maher Almost Returned on September 22
Maher intended to restart his talk show on Friday, September 22. In a statement posted on X, Maher wrote, “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. We all were hopeful this would come to an end after Labor Day, but that day has come and gone, and there still seems to be nothing happening. 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.”
Variety reports that because Maher already prepared to return, getting the show up and running for a full episode this Friday shouldn't be problematic. “From a production standpoint, I think you could turn it around pretty quickly,” one insider said. No word yet on the choices for the first post-strike featured guest or panel.
My writers and Real Time are back! See you Friday Night!
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 27, 2023
Real Time with Bill Maher airs on HBO on Friday.