When Drew Barrymore was out there taking all the heat, several other talk shows felt more comfortable about returning as soon as this week. When Drew Barrymore folded, however, the rest fell like dominoes. The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Talk also decided to pause their returns, and now even Bill Maher — who didn’t seem all that bothered about returning in the first place — is pausing, as well.
My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike. Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table I’m going to delay the return of Real Time, for now, and hope they can finally get this…— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 18, 2023
With the writers and the studios returning to the negotiating table this week, it could be a sign that these talk show hosts are hopeful that a resolution will soon be found. The studios themselves may not even want their talent to suffer further reputational damage by returning only a week or two before this thing gets resolved. Drew Barrymore getting crushed on social media, after all, could not have been good for the product or its parent studio, CBS.
Or maybe talks collapse again and Bill Maher says screw it and returns next week? I am choosing to be hopeful, although Maher’s reasoning is lousy. “I was going to shit on the writers at their lowest point, but on the other hand, it could get worse for the writers! And if it does, then, I’ll return!”
It’s also worth noting that social media is generally a terrible thing, but it has been a powerful tool for the WGA and SAG-AFTRA during these strikes.