One day after the Real Time host revealed plans to continue his show amid the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, the political commentator got candid about his thoughts on the decision.
"Without writers, the new weekly SCAB edition of Real Time With Bill Maher will be 83 seconds long," Olbermann wrote in a social media post. "As somebody who's known you since 1978: F--- you, Bill, you selfish and unfunny scumbag."
Without writers, the new weekly SCAB edition of "Real Time With @billmaher" will be 83 seconds long https://t.co/EkMqgeHGYL
As somebody who's known you since 1978: Fuck you, Bill, you selfish and unfunny scumbag
— Keith Olbermann⌚️ (@KeithOlbermann) September 14, 2023
Maher's decision makes him the first late-night host to return to work since the strike began in May. Others have given no indication of plans to resume amid the writers' strike, with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and John Oliver instead collaborating on the podcast, Strike Force Five. Proceeds from their show go to their out-of-work staffs.
Kevin Mazur/Getty; Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann
Maher announced the news in a Wednesday Instagram post, writing, "Real Time is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing."
He continued, "It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work. 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 wrote that while he hoped the strike would be finished by Labor Day, "that day has come and gone, and there still seems to be nothing happening."
"I love my writers, I am one of them, but I'm not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much," he said, adding that he would "honor the spirit of the strike" by going forth without his usual monologue, desk pieces, New Rules segment, or other editorials.
HBO Bill Maher
Maher finished his post by writing, "The show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bullshit and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint."
This news comes after days of Drew Barrymore drawing backlash for continuing her daytime talk show without her three WGA writers. Taking a similar approach to Maher, Barrymore purports to support the strike in spirit by "not be performing any writing work covered by the WGA strike," per a CBS spokesperson. In her own statement, Barrymore added, "We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind."
Like Maher, Barrymore has been heavily criticized by other industry members, including her own writers. The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Talk are also set to return, while other talk shows including The View, and Live With Kelly and Mark, continued production throughout the strike without their writers.
As of today, the writers have been on strike for 136 days, marking one of the longest screenwriter strikes in history. The longest to date stands at 154 days, from March 7-Aug. 7, 1988.
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