Bill Maher has reversed his decision to resume filming his HBO talk show, “Real Time,” during the ongoing writers strike.
Although members of both the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild are currently striking for better conditions and more equitable pay, Maher said last week that his show would be returning to TV ― without the presence of writers. (HuffPost’s unionized staff are also members of the Writers Guild of America, East, but are not involved in the strike.)
On Monday, Maher claimed that because “both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table,” he is ready to postpone the show’s return.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Maher said his original decision to resume the show “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 done,” he wrote.
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
Although the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have agreed to schedule a new meeting, it’s possible that wasn’t the only factor in Maher’s decision to delay a return to the air.
After Drew Barrymore reversed her decision to return to her own show on Sunday, “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” also said their shows would remain on hold until the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are resolved.
Earlier this month, Maher criticized WGA members for “kind of [believing] that you’re owed a living as a writer, and you’re not. This is show business. This is the make-or-miss league.”
Many people on social media, including members of the unions at the heart of the matter, had thoughts about Maher’s belated decision to honor the strikes.
Translation: "I had trouble booking celebrities for my strike-breaking show." https://t.co/3QyBkhsCjD
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) September 18, 2023
Honestly, sir, stop trying to both-sides this and pretend as if a decision to cross the pickets of 177,000 colleagues hangs on your personal view of how negotiations proceed. If the studios again use this moment to grandstand and declare a "final offer" will you scab some more? https://t.co/P2ZYzKpgS9
— David Simon (@AoDespair) September 18, 2023
Was really looking forward to picketing this man’s show, but am glad to see he’s done the right thing (for now) https://t.co/q7fvE84sCe
— Tom Ceraulo (@tceraulo) September 18, 2023
“I pretend to not be in it for the likes, but me no want what happened to beloved Drew to happen to me. It would be so worse.” https://t.co/wA13Sxk10j
— sierra ornelas (@sierraornelas) September 18, 2023