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Bill Maher Reverses Decision to Restart Show

Mr. Maher said he changed his mind about resuming his weekly HBO show because negotiations in the screenwriters’ strike were set to continue this week.

Bill Maher, wearing a blue suit and glasses, sits in an interview chair of a late night show and smiles.
Bill Maher’s change of heart followed similar reversals from talk show hosts like Drew Barrymore over the weekend.Credit...Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images

Santul Nerkar

Sept. 18, 2023Updated 2:38 p.m. ET

Bill Maher said on Monday that he would delay the return of his show, just days after he had said it would resume despite the ongoing screenwriters’ strike against Hollywood studios.

Mr. Maher said he reversed his decision to restart his weekly HBO show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” because contract negotiations between Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters were set to resume this week.

Mr. Maher said in a post on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that his earlier decision to restart the show — which he announced last week — came when “there was no end in sight” to the strike. His change of heart followed similar reversals from talk show hosts like Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Hudson over the weekend.

Ms. Barrymore said on Sunday that she was pausing the restart of her talk show, “The Drew Barrymore Show,” after facing a barrage of criticism, including being dropped as the host of the National Book Awards.

Ms. Barrymore had previously announced that the show was returning, despite the strike, and had doubled down on her decision to bring it back after initial criticism. But in an Instagram post over the weekend, Ms. Barrymore said that she apologized to “anyone she had hurt,” and that the show’s premiere would be paused until the strike was over.

After Ms. Barrymore’s announcement, shows like “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” which is produced by Warner Bros., and “The Talk,” which runs on CBS, also rolled back their decisions to broadcast new episodes.

Mr. Maher, in previously announcing his decision to restart the show, said that “I’m not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much.” The Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike against Hollywood studios since May, had said it was planning to picket Mr. Maher’s show.

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