'Real Time' to return with new format

Jan. 7, 2008 at 9:33 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher reportedly won't pen any material for his "Real Time With Bill Maher" series during the Hollywood writers strike.

Maher's HBO show is set to begin its new season Friday, but new episodes won't feature Maher's traditional opening monologue or "New Rules" closing segment, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Instead, Maher will chat with audience members and preside over extended roundtable discussions with guests, the trade paper said.

The comedian is adhering to Writers Guild of America strike rules that forbid talk-show hosts who are WGA members from writing material for their shows.

Maher's fellow talk-show host, Jay Leno, has been criticized for writing his own monologues on "The Tonight Show" since it went back on the air after being shut down for nearly two months because of the strike.

Both Maher and Leno went back to work on their shows without their striking writing staffs.

The last season of "Real Time" was cut short when scribes walked off their jobs. HBO was forced to air a repeat of the show instead of a season finale.

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