Bill Maher had announced that REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER was going to debut a new episode tonight, Friday, September 22, but it fell under the pressure of the Hollywood industry strikes. Several sites heralded the news only to retract it a few days later. This writer decided to rush the announcement because I felt it was a short-lived chance after Drew Barrymore received great flak from the industry when her eponymous show attempted to start back up at the same time.
Bill Maher was all ready to get back before the cameras even though he was still employed with his podcast show Club Random. He was ready, as were Barrymore and a few others, to get those in the industry not directly involved in the strikes back to work. He felt he had enough of a show without scripted content to make it work. Remember, the bulk of REAL TIME… is an open panel discussion, plus a one-on-one interview with a guest. These happen unscripted. Maher’s opening monologue, mid-show bits, and New Rules, however, are scripted and would have to be eliminated from the format. He understood that. He stated in full –
I for one, felt Bill Maher could have successfully staged his show under those pretexts. The most interesting part of REAL TIME… is the sit-down panel discussion with various personas knowledgeable of the topics for which Maher wants to talk broach that night. But the question isn’t whether he COULD stage the HBO show or not, but whether he SHOULD stage the show or not.
Some call him a scab for not being supportive. He is a provocative/controversial personality to begin with and what often comes out of his mouth is not favored by many. Whatever happened to just not tuning in if you don’t care for someone’s style? Well, he was supportive of the strikes since his last installment on April 28th with Elon Musk. Since then, he made the decision to help out his crew/staff, who are sitting without paychecks this whole time; He opts to get them back to work and what’s the matter with that?
The pressure was too great though. He stated in full –
Now, if you’ve seen Maher, he seems cantankerous, insistent and so sure of himself that he would seem the sort to have pushed through with his plan. But, at times too, he seems to be whiney and sometimes even spineless. He doesn’t elude here that he felt, in any way, threatened by picketing or admonishment, but cites the reason for backing down to the assumption that there has been progress made on the negotiation table. He opts to hold off the show because all may be resolved in the near future. I’m not paying that close attention, but are there signs of progress or was he pressured and quickly saving face?
Who knows when we will see REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER return at this point? But, dare I say, wasn‘t he right to try to get his show back to work at least in some truncated form?