Union Rules Could Explain Bill Maher’s Decision To Delay Return

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Bill Maher announced last week that his HBO “Real Time” series would return without his writing staff, which continues to strike on behalf of the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

Maher changed his mind Monday.

He posted a message on X saying he would delay the show’s return after the WGA’s decision to resume negotiations with Hollywood studios.

“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike. 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,” Maher noted.

Maher originally planned to return sans the segments that require writers: i.e. his opening monologue and “New Rules.”

He said a panel-only version of the program would allow him to return to HBO while showing solidarity with the writers.

So, it doesn’t make sense to reverse the decision on the basis of resumed talks between studios and the union.

HBO pundit Bill Maher drops f-bomb on CNN. (Credit: Screenshot/YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL0DzsV8rhc))

Maher’s reversal follows a similar decision by Drew Barrymore.

Over the weekend, Barrymore also backpedaled on her decision to return to NBC after a visit from the vultures on social media.

“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she wrote in a statement on Instagram.

“I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today.

“We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon,” Barrymore concluded.

The ghouls won.

The backlash was so fierce that “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” also announced they would delay plans to return to CBS.

Unlike Barrymore, we don’t believe Maher submitted to his critics. Rarely has he ever adjusted plans to appease journalists and social media users.

Maher understands he’s too large to allow critics to hinder his career. But the same cannot be said of the WGA.

Last week, the WGA claimed that a return to HBO would put Maher in violation of the union.

“As a WGA member, @BillMaher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services,” reads the post.

According to the WGA, “If members do not abide by the rules, the Guild can impose discipline for violations, including but not limited to, expulsion or suspension from membership, imposition of monetary fines or censure.”

The Guild could also limit the type of writers Maher can employ on “Real Time.”

Perhaps that is why he changed his plans so quickly.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.

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