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‘Bill Maher is a scab’: Comedian faces heat for proceeding with his HBO Show Real Time during strike without WGA writers, Guild pushes back for violating rules

‘Bill Maher is a scab’: Comedian faces heat for proceeding with his HBO Show Real Time during strike without WGA writers, Guild pushes back for violating rules

Bill Maher is being branded as a scab over his decision to return to work with his HBO talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher, while the Writers Strike remains unresolved. The WGA has called out his move which would potentially be in violation of the strike rules and neither are the Writers Union members happy about the comedian possibly engaging in writing services himself.

Drew Barrymore going forward with the recording of her talk show’s season 4 may have resulted in a trickle-down effect in Hollywood. Bill Maher has also joined the list of celebs opting to scab to bring their show back on air without any WGA writers on board.

UPDATE: Maher has decided to delay the launch of Real Time talk show, sighting the recent development between AMPTP & WGA to engage in negotiating.

Bill Maher announced that Real Time “is coming back” in a lengthy post on X while acknowledging “the writers have important issues that I sympathize with”. Nonetheless, he appears to indicate the decision to return amidst the Writers Strike by attributing it would help the struggling below-the-line workers “Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily.”

Maher, for his part, revealed he will not be engaging in performing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules, or editorial to “honor the spirit of the strike.” However, the Guild pushed back to state they “will be picketing this show.” The Writers Union members have already offered their support to the guild while some reminded Maher would be “crossing his own union’s picket line” indicating there would be consequences.

The former late-night talk show host of Politically Incorrect has faced backlash from social media on several occasions, even for his controversial take on the Barbie movie. But his most hurtful comment was recently directed at the Writers Guild, “They kind of believe that you’re owed a living as a writer—and you’re not.”

It remains to be seen what repercussions Maher and other celebs would face for breaking the Strike Rules. According to the 2023 Writers Guild contract – members will be granted a right to a hearing before the trial committee. The disciplinary actions range from fines to the worst being expulsion from the Writers Guild of America altogether.

Meanwhile, the WGA & SAG-AFTRA picket lines have only observed stronger participation with names well-known faces like Margot Robbie showing their support as well. The AMPTP has yet to return to the negotiating table (as of this writing) after their proposal was rejected on 23 August.

Real Time with Bill Maher was renewed by Warners in September 2021 for an additional two seasons that is expected to run through 2024. Maher is also an executive producer of the series with Chris Kelly serving as a co-producer and Paul Casey was set to direct.

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