*This week’s episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” has been scrapped by HBO after the host tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Deadline, Bill Maher, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, tested positive during the network’s weekly PCR testing ahead of the show.
“The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time with Bill Maher has been cancelled. Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine. Real Time production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time. The show will be rescheduled at a later date,” an HBO spokeswoman told the outlet.
Friday’s show was set to include Neil deGrasse Tyson and podcaster Dan Carlin. According to Variety — these guests “will be rescheduled at a later date.”
— Real Time with Bill Maher (@RealTimers) May 13, 2021
After the story broke, Maher took to social media to express his disappointment about ending his streak, going back to 1993, to have never missed an episode of “Politically Incorrect” or “Real Time.” He also thanked his fans for sending him love and support as he battles the virus.
“Thanks to all wishing me get well – hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it!” he wrote in a tweet. “Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.”
Thanks to all wishing me get well – hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) May 14, 2021
In his closing monologue in April, Maher took aim at the media’s “panic porn” during the pandemic, as reported by Fox News.
“[Democrats] also have a greatly exaggerated view of the danger of COVID to and the mortality rate among children, all of which explains why today the states with the highest share of schools that are still closed are all blue states,” Maher said on his show. “So if the right-wing media bubble has to own things like climate change denial, shouldn’t liberal media have to answer for ‘How did your audience wind up believing such bunch of crap about COVID?'”
He later told viewers, “When all of our sources for medical information have an agenda to spin us, yeah, you wind up with a badly misinformed population, including on the left,” he said. “Liberals often mock the Republican misinformation bubble … but what about liberals? You know, the high-information, by-the-science people?”