Bill Maher returned to HBO Real time after some of his recent controversies during the writers’ strike.
While he didn’t directly address the comments, he did express his appreciation for his writers, staffers and the Writers Guild of America nearly 20 minutes into Friday’s episode of his political talk show.
“First of all, I want to thank everyone who made this possible, for being back,” Maher said. “You know, I’m talking about my brilliant staff, writers and non-writers, who put the jets together so we could leave in two days. And the union people who handled the paperwork so we could get back so quickly, so thank you.”
The current 21st season of Real time premiered in January and was put on hold after the Writers Guild of America strike started in May. Normally 35 episodes air weekly and the show runs until the end of November.
But in September, the 67-year-old host declared he would return to work and no longer participate in the strike. “Real time is unfortunately coming back, without writers or writing,” Maher wrote on X. “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 satisfactorily, but they are not the only people with issues, problems and concerns… I am not willing to lose a whole year and see so many below- people on the line are suffering so much.”
The move led to industry backlash from many prominent names. But a week later, Maher changed course, citing the WGA and the studios returning to the negotiating table, and postponed the resumption of his show.
“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed like nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” he explained on X. “Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table , I go to postpone the return Real timefor now, and I hope they can finally get this done.
HBO subsequently announced the resolution of the writers’ strike earlier this week Real time would be back in the air anyway.
The new episode featured a one-on-one interview with Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, who emerged from the second Republican primary debate earlier this week.