- Politically Incorrect
show_name = Politically Incorrect
runtime = 30 minutes
country = USA
Comedy Central(1993–1997)ABC (1997–2002)
first_aired = July 25, 1993
last_aired = July 5, 2002
imdb_id = 0108897
tv_com_id = 3008|
"Politically Incorrect" was a late-night, half-hour political
talk showhosted by Bill Maherthat ran from 1993 to 2002. It premiered on Comedy Central from 1993 to 1996, and later on ABC in 1997, which cancelled it in 2002.
The show first originated from
New York City, but soon moved to Los Angelesto make it easier to get "stars" as guests. It was taped at CBS Television City, where it remained even after its move to ABC. (Coincidentally, the New York episodes were shot at the CBS Broadcast Center.) The first episode featured comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Sternsidekick Robin Quivers, Republican Party strategist Ed Rollins, and comedian Larry Miller. The show won a 2000 Emmy Awardfor Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Series, and was nominated for seventeen others, including one for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series every year from 1995 to 2002, and one in 1997 for Maher in the category of Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program. The show also won two Cable Ace Awardsin 1995 and 1996 for Talk Show Series, and was nominated for a third in 1997. It was also nominated for two Writers Guild of Americaawards for best Comedy/Variety series in 2001 and 2002. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108897/awards]
The show's writers included
Scott Carter, Al Franken, Arianna Huffington, Chris Kelly, and Chris Rock.
The show began with a brief topical monologue from Maher. Then Maher introduces the guests individually, promoting their current projects. Four guests appear, usually a mix of individuals from
show business, popular culture, pundits, political consultants, and occasionally regular people in the news, discussing topics in the news selected by Maher. Maher moved the conversation along and encouraged guests to be themselves. Maher described the program as " The McLaughlin Group" on acid." cite news
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402E7D9103BF934A15751C0A962958260&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/M/Maher,%20Bill
title = TELEVISION; Lots of Political Humor, and No Morton Kondracke
accessdate = 2008-01-17
publisher = New York Times]
Occasionally Maher would interview a single guest, but those occasions were rare. The show was pioneering in mixing political figures and entertainers. Maher tried to air all points of view, especially controversial ones. Guests could be both aggravating and insightful, with the conversation similar to a
cocktail partywith quick-witted guests.
Controversy and cancellation
In the aftermath of the
September 11 attackson the World Trade Center(of which frequent guest Barbara Olsenwas killed on American Airlines Flight 77), U.S. President George W. Bushsaid that the terrorists responsible were cowards. On "Politically Incorrect's" September 17 show, Maher's guest Dinesh D'Souzadisputed Bush's label, saying the terrorists were warriors.Bohlen, Celestine. (2001-09-21.) [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04EFDA163DF93AA1575AC0A9679C8B63 "Think tank; In new war on terrorism, words are weapons, too"] . "The New York Times" online archive. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.] Maher agreed, and according to a transcript replied "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."
While similar comments had been made in other media, Maher's comments became a major controversy. Some advertisers withdrew their support, and some ABC affiliates stopped airing the show temporarily. White House press secretary
Ari Fleischerdenounced Maher, warning that "people have to watch what they say and watch what they do." [Carter, Bill and Felicity Barringer. ( 2001- 09-28.) [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CE4D91F3AF93BA1575AC0A9679C8B63 "A nation challenged: Speech and expression; in patriotic time, dissent is muted"] . "The New York Times" online archive. Retrieved on 2007- 10-09.]
Maher almost immediately apologized, and explained that he had been criticizing U.S. military policy, not American soldiers. He pointed out that whether the attacks were cowardly was irrelevant to whether they were morally right or wrong. Nonetheless the controversy was considered to be a key element contributing to the show's cancellation.Fact|date=May 2008
The show was canceled the following June, which Maher and many others saw as a result of the controversy, although ABC denied that the controversy was a factor, and said the program was canceled due to declining ratings.(2003-05-05.) [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/05/entertainment/main552433.shtml "Maher: Politically incorrect on broadway".] "CBS News" website. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.] Kirn, Walter. (2002-05-26.) [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9805EEDE1338F935A15756C0A9649C8B63 "The way we live now: 5-26-02; The end of the affair"] . "The New York Times" online archive. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.] [Associated Press. (2002-06-29.) [http://www.usatoday.com/life/2002/2002-06-29-maher.htm "Maher tapes final episode of 'Politically Incorrect'"] . "USA Today" online, retrieved on 2007-10-09.] Maher said that the show struggled for advertisers in its final months. [Maher, Bill. (
2006- 09-10.) [http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/suncommentary/la-op-maher10sep10,1,1091514.story?coll=la-headlines-suncomment "When can we finally be funny again?"] "The Los Angeles Times" via latimes.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.]
Maher now hosts an hour-long program on
HBOcalled " Real Time with Bill Maher", which follows a similar format.
List of late night network TV programs
* [http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/ Real Time with Bill Maher Official Site]
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