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HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ set to return sans writers, WGA threatens to picket show

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Janet Van Ham/HBO

Bill Maher announced on Wednesday, September 13 that he’ll bring back his HBO show Real Time without writers, angering the WGA, which says it will picket the show.

” … It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work,” Maher wrote in a statement on X, formally Twitter. “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.”

” … 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,” he continued. “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.”

Maher vowed to “honor the spirit of the strike” by eliminating the show’s scripted segments, including his monologue and New Rules, and while sans writers the show “will not be as good,” the “off-the-cuff panel discussion … will not disappoint.”

The guild called Maher’s decision “disappointing” adding that it would picket the show.

“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,’” the Guild said in a statement on X. “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. WGA will be picketing this show.”

Maher also faced blowback from writers on social media, who labelled him a “scab.”

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