Comedian Bill Maher announced that his HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher" is back... but without scriptwriters.
The host announced on X (formerly Twitter) the return of the show and mentioned that, although he understands and sympathizes with Hollywood writers who have already been on strike for more than four months, there are other people who depend on the program and need to return to work.
"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," Maher wrote Wednesday on X. "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."
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
The Writers Guild of America Strike began in early May and still has no end date.
The union represents some 11,500 writers and screenwriters.
Bill Maher, in addition to announcing the return of his show on HBO, also did an exercise in honesty on X, telling the audience that the show will not be a disappointment but will not have the same quality without the writers either.
"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," Maher continued.
"And I’ll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bullshit and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint., "said the host, who during the past week had already positioned himself against some requests of the writers calling them unrealistic.
"They’re asking for a lot of things that are, like, kooky," Maher said on his Club Random podcast. "What I find objectionable about the philosophy of the strike [is] it seems to be, they have really morphed a long way from 2007’s strike, where they kind of believe that you’re owed a living as a writer, and you’re not. This is show business. This is the make-or-miss league. I'm not saying they don't have points."