After Bill Maher’s bold stance backfired, the comedian made an announcement regarding his show’s production amid the ongoing writers’ strike.
With massive amounts of entertainment still available, no doubt some have already forgotten that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May, impacting the livelihoods of others in the industry. On Monday, Maher’s intent to resume “Real Time With Bill Maher” on HBO, ostensibly to provide some relief for others, was retracted with some Washington, D.C.-worthy spin.
“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” wrote Maher on X. “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.”
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
The union had released a memo to members Monday that read, “The WGA and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) now have a confirmed schedule to bargain this week, starting on Wednesday. You might not hear from us in the coming days while we are negotiating, but know that our focus is getting a fair deal for writers as soon as possible.”
At the heart of the strike, writers have sought higher pay, better residuals, a guarantee on the number of writers on projects and protections against artificial intelligence taking their work on their list of demands.
As previously reported, the host had originally said, “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.”
The comedian’s concern for his staff “struggling mightily” was soundly rebuked by the WGA which had stated, “Bill Maher’s decision to go back on the air while his Guild is on strike is disappointing. If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike’. Bill Maher is obligated as a WGA member to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services.”
“It is difficult to imagine how Real Time with Bill Maher can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place,” they continued and threatened, “WGA will be picketing this show.”
Days earlier, actress Drew Barrymore had announced a similar decision after getting pushback for attempting to carry on with her program.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she said in part in a social media post. “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.”
Drew Barrymore caves to pressure, halts premier and apologizes for resuming show during writer’s strike https://t.co/4Q4WEdCG2F via @BIZPACReview
— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) September 17, 2023
Meanwhile, with other shows like “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” delaying production, ABC’s “The View” continued and the Writers Guild of America planned to picket outside ABC Studios in New York City leading up to Tuesday’s planned broadcast.
ABC Studios NYC, Columbus & W 66th St
RSVP: https://t.co/3x9lKhzXBd pic.twitter.com/39nfKPc6V9
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 18, 2023
Despite succumbing to the strikers’ demands, Maher continued to feel heat online as some concluded that he may have been unable to book guests willing to join in breaking the strike.
“So basically you couldn’t find celebrities willing to break strike to be on your show?” said one person as another wrote, “Couldn’t get any guests? There has always been one side willing to negotiate. The workers.”
At the same time, others chided him for backing down from his own position.
So basically you couldn’t find celebrities willing to break strike to be on your show?
— ChudsOfTikTok (@ChudsOfTikTok) September 18, 2023
Couldn’t get any guests? There has always been one side willing to negotiate. The workers.
— Mike Z (@MZissis1) September 18, 2023
You tucked. You’re better than this Bill.
— FightOracle ™ (@fightoracle) September 19, 2023
Whew… Maher got SMOKED
— Steve Svekis (@Pac_Dozen) September 18, 2023
— David Benjamin (@thetoyman1) September 18, 2023
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