Keith Olbermann had blunt words for Bill Maher follower the latter’s announcement that he is bringing back his HBO talk show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” despite the ongoing WGA strike. The political commentator and “Countdown” podcast host took to X (former Twitter) to tell Maher “fuck you.”
“Without writers, the new weekly SCAB edition of ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ will be 83 seconds long,” Olbermann wrote. “As somebody who’s known you since 1978: Fuck you, Bill, you selfish and unfunny scumbag.”
While Maher is the first late night host to bring his show back amid the strikes, he’s certainly not the first TV host. Drew Barrymore has been facing backlash since announcing her eponymous daytime talk show is returning amid the strikes, and ABC’s “The View” is already airing new episodes. CBS’ “The Talk” is also returning later this month.
“Can’t wait to tell my son there won’t be Christmas this year because Bill Maher and a bunch of talk show hosts who couldn’t stay away from the limelight prolonged a strike that was gaining ground and are putting countless writers, actors, and crew in financial peril indefinitely,” TV writer Gennefer Gross posted after Maher’s announcement.
In his announcement, Maher said “it’s time to bring people back to work” after five months of the WGA strike, adding: “The writers have important issues that I sympathize with, and hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns.” He also noted that he “will honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules or editorial.”
The Writers Guild of America, West issued its own statement after Maher’s announcement, calling it “disappointing.” The guild added: “If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike.’ Bill Maher is obligated as a WGA member to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show.”
Earlier this month, Maher spoke critically about the WGA strike on his “Club Random” podcast.
“They’re asking for a lot of things that are, like, kooky,” Maher said about the WGA. “What I find objectionable about the philosophy of the strike [is] it seems to be, they have really morphed a long way from 2007’s strike, where they kind of believe that you’re owed a living as a writer, and you’re not. This is show business. This is the make-or-miss league.”
Maher then claimed the streamers had already been “looking for a get out of jail card for how much they overspend,” noting the Hollywood strikes solved that issue for them as they’ve brought production to a halt.
“[Streamers] have tons of stuff in stock, so they have no reason to wanna settle this strike,” he noted. “They struck at just the wrong time; they have no leverage. Has anyone who is watching TV recently noticed a difference? Has it affected the person down the pipeline? I don’t think so. I haven’t noticed a difference. At some point, I guess that will happen. What day is that when Netflix runs out of what they have in the warehouse?”
A new episode of “Real Time” is set to air on Sept. 22.