The backlash from Bill Maher casually dropping the n-word on his Real Time show on Friday hasn’t quite died down yet, but HBO is clearly hoping that it does soon. Chance The Rapper publicly called for the premium cable network to cut ties with Maher and stop airing his show (while others like Killer Mike defended Maher’s right to say it), but Entertainment Weekly is reporting that HBO has no intention of pulling Maher off the air just yet. It has confirmed that a new episode of his show will air on Friday as usual, but the story notes that his “long-term future at the network remains unclear.”
On Saturday, HBO released a statement that called Maher’s use of the n-word “tasteless” and “completely inexcusable,” but it doesn’t sound like the new statement to Entertainment Weekly expanded on that at all. Either way, HBO is probably going to be paying close attention to how future episodes of Real Time are received, at least if Entertainment Weekly is on to something with its assertion that the show’s future is now in jeopardy.
Speaking of future episodes of Real Time, Maher’s guests on Friday’s show were supposed to be Al Franken and Ice Cube, but Entertainment Weekly also says that Franken has dropped out due to Maher’s “inappropriate and offensive” comment. There’s no word yet on if Ice Cube will do the same, though.