Maher, CBS at odds over 'Free Speech'

Sept. 19, 2006 at 6:27 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A "Free Speech" segment on Katie Couric's "CBS Evening News" has ignited a disagreement between CBS and political satirist Bill Maher.

The New York Post said CBS has contradicted a claim made by the comedian last Friday on his HBO series "Real Time with Bill Maher" in which he alleged that the TV network informed him he would not be able to discuss religion on the "Free Speech" segment.

"We didn't say yes and we didn't say no," Rome Hartman, an executive producer for the "CBS Evening News" said of Maher's claim.

"(Maher) sent word that (religion) is what he wanted to talk about ... and we sent back two or three ideas for topics we thought might be timely or topical." he added. "This was not an attempt to dictate."

The network's claim prompted a quick response from the outspoken 50-year-old comic.

"If I or my representatives got it wrong about how the 'Free Speech' segment ... is, sorry, our bad," Maher wrote in an e-mail to The Post.

"I'm ready, willing and able to speak about the topic I originally suggested."

Topics: Bill Maher
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