Bill Maher announced that he is resuming production on his HBO show “Real Time,” even though the WGA strike has not been resolved.
“‘Real Time’ is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing,” Maher wrote Wednesday on X.
“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,” he continued.
Maher continued that many on his staff are “struggling mightily” and that he’d decided to act when the strike continued past Labor Day.
“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,” he said.
“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 explained, saying that the show without his writers “will not be as good as our normal show, full stop,” but that the writer-less version “will not disappoint.”
The news comes after Drew Barrymore was met with harsh criticism for announcing the return of her daytime talk show, which had been on hiatus with most other talk shows since the WGA strike began in May.
By returning to production, she and others are not violating SAG regulations, as talk show hosts are under a different contact. But she did anger the WGA. Since Barrymore’s announcement, the studio where she tapes has been picketed and she was dropped as the host of the National Book Awards ceremony.
Like Barrymore, Maher likely won’t have any actors on his show. All SAG-AFTRA members are currently barred from promoting struck work, except those, like Jessica Chastain and Adam Driver, who’ve been granted strike waivers for independent productions.
The interim agreements are part of the guilds’ strategy to show the AMPTP that they are, as SAG-AFTRA secretary and treasurer Joely Fisher said at the Wednesday morning rally outside of Paramount Studios, “ready, able and willing to work” — under the right conditions.
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