Less than a week after announcing that “Real Time With Bill Maher” would return amid the ongoing writers’ strike, Bill Maher said Monday that he was postponing the talk show’s reboot.
The comedian explained his change of heart in one X contributionciting renewed talks between the writers’ union and studios as a motivating factor.
“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed like nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” he wrote. “Now that both sides have agreed to return to the negotiating table, I will delay the return of Real Time for now and hope they finally get it done.”
On Monday, the Writers Guild of America said it will meet with the alliance of major studios starting Wednesday as the two sides try to negotiate a new contract.
“You may not hear from us in the coming days as we negotiate, but know that our focus is on reaching a fair deal for authors as quickly as possible,” the WGA’s negotiating committee wrote Monday morning to the members.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major studios such as Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix and Walt Disney Co., confirmed the date of the meeting.
“Every member company of the AMPTP is determined and committed to reaching a fair deal and working with the WGA to end the strike,” the studio group said in a statement last week, signaling it would work with the guild toward a return to the negotiating table.
Maher’s decision comes after Drew Barrymore announced Sunday that she was making an about-face from her controversial decision to begin production on her talk show.
“I have listened to everyone and am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore continued Instagram. “I am at a loss for words to sincerely apologize to everyone I have hurt and of course to our incredible team who work on the show and have made it what it is today. We were really trying to find the way forward. And I really hope for a solution for the entire industry soon.”
CBS also postponed the start of Sunday’s 14th season of daytime show “The Talk” following Barrymore’s decision.
The chat series’ season premiere, originally scheduled for Sept. 18, is “on hold,” a network spokesperson confirmed in a statement to the Times on Sunday. The statement made no mention of the strikes.
“We will continue to review plans for a new start date,” the spokesman said.
Mower announced On Wednesday, he announced that his HBO show would be back on the air without “authors or writers.” He said he supports the striking writers, but the disruption has become too harsh on non-striking production workers who have been out of work since May. Maher’s move mirrors what happened during the 2007-08 writers’ strike, when he resumed his show in the middle of the work stoppage (along with hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien) without writers or writers.
A WGA spokesman called Maher’s decision last week “disappointing.”
“If he implements his plan, he must respect more than just the spirit of the strike,” the spokesman said. “As a WGA member, Bill Maher is obligated to follow strike rules and not provide typing services. It’s hard to imagine how “Real Time” can move forward without violating the WGA’s strike rules. WGA will demo this show.”
Times staff writers Wendy Lee, Matt Pearce and Christi Carras contributed to this report.