Multiple Talk Shows Cross Picket Line Despite Strike Rules, Union Vows to Protest

Talk show host Bill Maher, who ignites controversy for a living, did it again Wednesday by announcing that his HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” would be returning despite the weeks-long writers’ strike.

“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,” Maher wrote in a post on X.

He is not alone.

According to The New York Times, Drew Barrymore announced this week that she was returning to tape new shows.

The Times said that “The Jennifer Hudson Show” and “The Talk” will also be returning noting that talk shows such as “The View” and “Live With Kelly and Mark” have been going throughout the strike.

The Writers Guild of America said it would picket Maher’s show and called his decision “disappointing.”

“As a WGA member, Bill Maher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services,” the guild said. “It is difficult to imagine how ‘Real Time’ can go forward without a violation of W.G.A. strike rules taking place.”

Maher’s social media post explained his thinking.

“Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily,” he wrote. “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.

“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.

“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.”

While saying the show “will not be as good as our normal show,” Maher added that “the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion.”

“The show will not disappoint,” he said.

The Times noted that the strike, having topped 136 days, is closing in on the longest screenwriters’ strike on record of 153 days in 1988. Coupled with a two-month strike by actors, much of Hollywood has been in disarray.

As noted by NBC News, movies such as “Gladiator 2” and “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two” are paused indefinitely, while TV shows such as “Stranger Things” and “Yellowstone” are also impacted.

Companies are also feeling the pinch, with Warner Bros. Discovery estimating in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the strikes will cost it up to $500 million.

Contract talks on the writers’ strike will resume next week, according to USA Today.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said an agreement to return to the table was reached Wednesday.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.



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