Bill Maher ‘for now’ reverses course and holds off on restarting his show as WGA talks resume

Less than a week after announcing that “Real Time with Bill Maher” would return amid an ongoing writers’ strike, Bill Maher said Monday that he is postponing the reboot of the talk show.

The comedian explained his change of heart X postWriters cite new negotiations between unions and studios as motivating factors

“I decided to go back to work when it seemed like nothing was happening and there was no end to this strike,” he wrote. “Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table, I’m going to delay the return to real time for now, and hopefully they can finally get it done.”

On Monday, the Writers Guild of America said it would meet with the coalition representing major studios starting Wednesday, as the two sides try to negotiate a new contract.

“You may not hear from us in the coming days as we negotiate, but know that our focus is on getting a fair deal for writers as soon as possible,” the WGA’s negotiating committee wrote to members Monday morning.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major studios including Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix and Walt Disney Co., confirmed the date for the meeting.

“Every member company of the AMPTP is committed and eager to reach a fair agreement and work together with the WGA to end the strike,” the studio group said in a statement last week that signaled it was back at the negotiating table with the guild.

Maher’s decision comes after Drew Barrymore announced on Sunday that she is reversing course on her controversial decision to start production on her talk show.

“I’ve heard everyone, and I’m making the decision to hold off the premiere of the show until the strike is over,” Barrymore wrote on Instagram. “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to whoever I hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who work on the show and make it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I really hope to have a solution for the entire industry very soon.”

CBS also postponed the start of Season 14 of Sunday daytime show “The Talk” following Barrymore’s decision.

That chat series is “pausing its season premiere,” originally scheduled for Sept. 18, a network spokeswoman confirmed in a statement to The Times on Sunday. The statement did not mention the strike.

“We will continue to evaluate plans for a new launch date,” the spokesperson said.

Maher announcement Wednesday that his HBO show will return to the air “without a writer or script.” He said he supported the striking writers but that production workers who have been out of work since May have found it too difficult to stop. Maher’s move echoed during the 2007–08 writers’ strike, when he revived his show (with hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien) through a work stoppage without writers or writing.

A WGA spokesman called Maher’s decision last week “disappointing.”

“If he goes ahead with his plan, he will have to respect more than the ‘spirit of the strike,'” the spokesman said. “Bill Maher is obligated as a WGA member to follow strike rules and not perform any written service It’s hard to imagine how ‘Real Time’ could proceed without violating the WGA strike rules. The WGA will be picketing this show.”

Times staff writers Wendy Lee, Matt Pearce and Christy Caras contributed to this report.

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