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Bill Maher will delay ‘Real Time’ return over strike negotiations

Bill Maher said he will delay the return of his “Real Time with Bill Maher” talk show on Monday. The announcement came a day after several other talk show hosts postponed their returns amid the Hollywood strike.

The comedian, who announced on Sept. 14 that he planned to bring back his show to HBO later this week, said on Monday that he will halt the return as writers and studios will kick up negotiations again amid the strike.

“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” he tweeted. “Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table I’m going to delay the return of ‘Real Time,’ for now, and hope they can finally get this done.”

HBO confirmed production is on hold, but declined to comment further.

Maher said in mid-September that he planned to bring the show back “unfortunately” without writers. “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 wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, at the time.

The Writers Guild of America has been striking against the studios for more than 130 days, prioritizing better pay and protection against advancements in artificial intelligence. The Screen Actors Guild began their strike in July and members have been picketing outside production company offices to make their case for better residual pay in the streaming era.

Since the Hollywood strike began, television’s late-night series have been out of production. Five late-night talk show hosts — including Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Jimmy Kimmel — have been producing a podcast called “Strike Force Five,” which they said raises money for staff who are currently out of work because of the strike.

On Sunday, Drew Barrymore announced that she would postpone the return of her daytime talk show “The Drew Barrymore Show” after several writers picketed outside the show’s taping last week. In an Instagram post, Barrymore said the show’s return would be delayed until the strike ended. Hours later, other daytime talk shows paused their return to television, including “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” which had announced plans to resume production shortly after Barrymore made her announcement.

Barrymore announced on Sept. 10 that the “The Drew Barrymore Show” would return amid the strike, prompting backlash on social media from writers and fans alike. Critics called her a “scab” for bringing her show back despite the picket lines. The WGA East denounced her decision and said it would protest until the production came to a halt.

Writers protested outside of her show, handing out support pins and chanting phrases like, “CBS! You are a mess!” and “We expect more from Drew Barry—more!” Two audience members with WGA support pins were asked to leave the show’s taping. In the following days, the National Book Awards rescinded its invitation to Barrymore to host its next ceremony.

A number of daytime talk shows remain on the air despite the strike, including “The View.” The game show “Jeopardy!” also announced it planned to return for its 40th season by using recycled questions.

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