Bill Maher postpones return to the air, the latest TV host to balk at working during writers strike

NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Maher has delayed returning to his HBO talk show during the ongoing strike by writers and actors, a decision that follows similar pauses over the weekend by “The Drew Barrymore Show,” “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show.”

Maher last week said he would bring his show back into production, but on Monday said he'll wait because talks are scheduled to begin between producers and writers on Wednesday.

“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” Maher said via social media. “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.”

Barrymore, who drew criticism for taping new episodes of her daytime talk show despite the ongoing writers and actors strikes, said Sunday she'll wait until the labor issues are resolved.

“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 on Sunday. “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.”

Talk shows are covered under a separate labor contract — the so-called Network Code — from the one actors and writers are striking. The Network Code also covers reality TV, sports, morning news shows, soap operas and game shows.

Barrymore’s initial decision to return to the air Monday — without her three union writers and with picketers outside her studio — was met with pushback on social media. Her show resumed taping in New York last week and was picketed by striking writers.

“We support Drew’s decision to pause the show’s return and understand how complex and difficult this process has been for her,” said a CBS Media Ventures spokesperson

Other daytime shows have resumed. “The View” has returned for its 27th season on ABC, while “Tamron Hall” and “Live With Kelly and Mark” — neither are governed by writers guild rules — have also been producing fresh episodes.

“The Talk” also scrapped its restart, planned for Monday. "We will continue to evaluate plans for a new launch date,” CBS said in a statement Sunday.

The ongoing strike pits Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Disney, Netflix, Amazon and others.