June 25, 2024


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Bill Maher Plans to Start ‘Real Time’ on HBO Without Writers – Variety

Bill Maher Plans to Start ‘Real Time’ on HBO Without Writers – Variety

Bill Maher will soon be working under some “new rules” — and not just the ones he sets in the feature segment of his HBO show.

The comedian and commentator plans to restart production on HBO’s “Real Time” without writers, the first of a phalanx of late-night TV hosts to attempt to do so despite ongoing Hollywood strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.

“Real time returns, unfortunately, without a book or writings.” Maher said on social media on Wednesday evening. It’s been five months, and it’s time to get people back to work. The writers have important issues that I sympathize with, and I hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only ones who have issues, problems, and concerns.” Late-night TV shows, from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” have all but disappeared since a writers’ strike earlier this year.

Maher is likely to spark some anger. Drew Barrymore began production on her daytime talk show and writers and others picketed the production in New York.

An HBO spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could Sheila Griffiths, one of Maher’s longtime executive producers on “Real Time.”

Maher said his version of “Real Time” without a book will be significantly different from the series’ typical format. “I will respect the spirit of the strike by not presenting a monologue, desk essay, new rules, op-ed, or written articles that I am very proud of in real time. And I will say this up front to the audience: The show I give without my book will not be as good as our regular show. Stop.” “But the core of the show is an informal panel discussion aimed at cutting through the expected bullshit and partisanship, and that will continue. The show does not disappoint.”

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He also noted that he felt the show should go on, regardless of who might participate. He said: “I love my writers, and I am one of them, but I am not prepared to lose a whole year and see a lot of people who live below the line suffer so much.”

The WGA strike has thwarted the plans of many late-night television networks. CBS had hoped to launch a new show at 12:30 a.m. this fall to replace the departing James Corden. The strike also changed that timeline, according to people familiar with the matter. Instead of a companion program to Stephen Colbert’s show, CBS tapped “Comics Unleashed,” a collection of stand-up routines produced by businessman Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group on a short-term basis. Comedy Central, which has been testing a wide range of hosts to succeed Trevor Noah on the “Daily Show,” has scuttled those efforts, although comedian Hasan Minhaj is considered a leading candidate for the role.

Late-night television shows continue to spark debates and pop culture threads. But the longer shows like NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” remain dark, the greater the risk that viewers in the age of streaming video will make permanent changes to their consumption habits. In 2018, seven late-night programs were introduced – NBC’s “Tonight” and “Late Night,” CBS’s “Late Show” and “Late Late Show,” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” , “Daily Show” on Comedy Central, and “Saturday Night Live” on NBC. — attracted more than $698 million in advertising in 2018, according to Vivvix, an ad spending tracking company. By 2022, that total had reached $412.7 million, a decline of nearly 41% over five years.

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Some hosts seemed keen to return to their antics in the early hours of the night. Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and John Oliver have come together to produce a podcast in hopes of donating any revenue it generates to their out-of-work crews.

The strike disrupted production of “Real Time” midway through the series’ 21st season. “Real Time” debuted on HBO in 2003. It incorporates some elements of Maher’s previous show, “Politically Incorrect,” which was shown on both Comedy Central and ABC.