CNN Is Editing Bill Maher Rebroadcasts, First Week’s Ratings Strong

As we first reported last week, HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, which airs live Friday nights, began re-airing on CNN Saturday nights at 8 p.m. last weekend. But as those who tuned may have noticed, Maher’s show is bit different when it replays on the cable news network.

CNN is removing about 12 minutes from each episode of to allow for commercials,

“The second half of the panel discussion, that’s what’s gonna get the ax,” Maher told Variety. “It’s not perfect, but I’m thrilled to be on CNN. My father was a newsman… I wish my parents were alive to see this.”

This isn’t the first time that Real Time has made its way to CNN, as Maher’s post-show segment, Overtime, had aired on the news network live on Friday nights for a time beginning last year. With the move to re-air Real Time on Saturdays, Overtime has returned to streaming exclusively on YouTube.

Speaking with Variety, Maher acknowledged that Real Time “doesn’t look like anything else on CNN,” so he’s not sure whether the network’s audience will embrace “something different,” or if they’ll say, “What the hell is that? I thought this was CNN!”

If the numbers for the show’s CNN debut last weekend are any indication, adding Maher to its Saturday lineup would seem to be a net gain for the network.

Real Time averaged 74,000 P25-54 viewers in the 8 p.m. timeslot, ahead of Fox News and MSNBC in the key news demo (but second in total viewers behind Fox News). It was also CNN’s most-watched telecast of the day with 686,000 total viewers, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. That’s up +35% versus the network’s prior four Saturday 8 p.m. hours (507,000). Further, this past week’s Real Time rebroadcast on CNN averaged +12% more total viewers than MSNBC’s Saturday 8 p.m. offering (615,000).

The veteran talk show host also told Variety that reports of him exiting CAA may have been premature, as “nothing has been decided yet.” Stay tuned on that front, as he would make a valuable free agent on the open market — one who would no doubt cause a feeding frenzy among CAA’s rivals.

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