The host of HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher made the announcement himself with a post on X (formerly Twitter) that also details how he says he plans to “honor the spirit of the strike” despite making new episodes. “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. Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily. 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 wrote.
“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,” he continued. “And I’ll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bulls**t and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint.”
The Writers Guild of America West posted on X following Maher’s announcement. “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,’” reads the statement.
“As a WGA member, @BillMaher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services,” it continues. “It is difficult to imagine how @RealTimers can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show.”