LOS ANGELES — Bill Maher has tested positive for Covid-19, forcing HBO to scrap Friday's scheduled taping of this week's episode.
In a statement, HBO said Maher is "fully vaccinated" and "feels fine." Friday's guests were to have included astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and "Hardcore History" podcast host Dan Carlin.
"Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine," HBO said. "'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."
Maher is in the midst of his 19th season of hosting the talk and roundtable series that tackles politics and pop culture. As host, Maher revels in his contrarian views and is known for showcasing media figures who have been caught up in controversy such as Megyn Kelly, Sharon Osborne and Kellyanne Conway. He has also made incendiary statements about medical issues in the past including questioning the efficacy of vaccines and whether there are links between vaccinations and autism.
"Real Time," which tapes in Los Angeles, is the latest series to face a pandemic-related shutdown. Hollywood has been basically successful in getting film and TV production back up and running by mandating strict safety protocols for every soundstage and location shoot.
But dozens of productions have faced the hardship of having to shut down quickly because a cast or crew member tests positive for coronavirus. The entertainment industry is still digging out from the slowdown in production last year, which has set the stage for a very busy second half of this year and early next year for new releases.