"Politically Incorrect” was created by its’ 10 year host in 1993 “Bill Maher”and it first debuted on Comedy Central on 25 July 1993. Bill is an actor, comedian, host, producer, and writer but he is most famous for his political satiric commentary. Bill was born on 20 January 1956 in New York City, New York raised in River Vale, New Jersey and now resides in Los Angeles. His very first major national exposure came in 1983 when he played a character named “Bob”in the Action/Comedy “D.C. Cab”. Prior to this film appearance he traveled around the country on the stand-up comedy circuit. The series itself normally had 4 guests of the most interesting variety of backgrounds such as authors, entertainers, journalists and political figures etc., all brought together to participate in some of the most controversial, topical and comical discussions in current events of the day amongst themselves and Bill. Guests on the very first broadcast of the show were “Ed Rollins”a Political Commentator and Strategist, “Jerry Seinfeld” Actor and Stand-up Comedian, Actor “Larry Miller” and the Beautiful Actress “Robin Quivers”.
Bill’s show grew in popularity almost every year, eventually catching the attention in 1997of ABC TV whom bought the rights to the show and began airing it weeknights at 12 Midnight in the old “Nightline” time-slot. Over the 10-year run of the show between Bill and the show itself combined garnered 4 Cable ACE Awards and received a total of 18 Emmy nominations. On ABC it became a cutting-edge provocative late night series that survived for 5 years on the network. The slow down turn on the show began on the night of 17 September 2001the night the show returned to the air after the 9-11 attacks. September 11, 2001 was a devastatingly disastrous day for New York, North America and the entire world as a whole. Unfortunately, it also became a turning point in Bill's talk show career or at least his days with ABC TV. Bill himself has always been "Politically Incorrect" in his thinking and his commentary and many of his regular viewers loved that about him. But on that fateful night he stepped over the line so to speak, you know that invisible line, between what people will accept as political commentary, humor and/or satire and what they would consider as being inappropriate comments regarding this terrible, inexcusable, horrific, uncalled for attack on the U.S.
Because of this quoted comment he made: [b]“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away.” Maher had also commented toward “President George W. Bush” and others when they called the September 11th terrorist attacks "cowardly" . Bill was quoted as saying in response to that: "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”. There were many other comments and remarks made that night by him on the show that upset a lot of important people, network sponsors, viewers and even the U.S. government. The remarks he delivered this night in the face of the nation’s current trauma signaled that he may have overstayed his welcome as, FedEx Corporation and Sears Roebuck & Co. pulled their major national ads. Also some of the ABC affiliates throughout the county most notably the one in Washington D.C downright refused too ever air the show again. One month later it appeared that the controversy might have just faded away, because ABC vowed to back Bill and his right to free speech, and show ratings were actually climbing for a few months. ABC did also issue this statement saying: “The network is extremely proud of the fact that, for the past five years, ABC has afforded Bill Maher a national platform for his unique take on the world,” calling the show’s run both “challenging” and “rewarding”. In the meantime there was a big turnover at ABCin the top Management positions of the company. It is said that most if not all of the new brass combined with the shows’ contract being up for renewal were the 2 main reasons for the shows eventual demise. Maher had said about ABC that they regarded him as “The crazy aunt in the attic”.
“I don’t have any animosity towards the network” , Bill added. “I knew who I was dancing with when I accepted the date". His show’s ratings had shown more attrition down from more than 3 million viewers before 9-11 to about 2.5 million in 2001 and 2002, according to Nielson Media research. Scarcely 7 months after his ill-fated comments, it was formally announced that Bill’s show was being replaced and that of course meant that Bill himself was also out of a job as well. ABC had decided to pull the plug on "Politically Incorrect" and canceled it from its late-night lineup at the end of May to go into effect the end of June. Quote: “Politically Incorrect, Maher said, was not simply about trying to get celebrities to expound on abortion. He pointed to the citizen’s panels the show did one year" . One person had said to him "We should napalm the border to stop immigration” Maher recalled. “You’re not going to get that out of Sharon Lawrence”. Six days later, on June 22, 2002, Maher was awarded the L.A. Press Club's President's Award, which is its' highest honor, for "championing free speech”. It was to be replaced weeknights at 12:05a.m with a live talk show hosted by commedian "Jimmy Kimmel" formally of "The Man Show" on Comedy Central but the program didn’t debut until after the 2003 Super Bowl, in the interim ABC ran an extended version of its 11:30p.m “Nightline” show. The final show of the series for “Politically Incorrect” aired on Friday June 28, 2002. Bill had on that show as his guests what he called “the four best friends I made on the show” which were Arianna Huffington (who will have done the show 42 times), "Christopher 'kid' Tim Reid", "Ann Coulter" and "Michelle Phillips".
Subsequently, Maher became the host of HBO's “Real Time with Bill Maher” show, that made its’ debut on 21 February 2003. The new show was very similar to “Politically Incorrect” except it aired live and only once a week as a 1-hour long show on Friday nights at 11PM. Bill’s new politically funny talk show is currently in its’ 7th consecutive season showing on HBO TV.
One of Bill's regular guests on "Politically Incorrect" who appeared on almost every show “Barbara Olson” who had been a conservative commentator for CNN lost her life during the 9-11 attacks on America. Barbara lost her life while on board American Airlines Flight 77 which was 1 of the 4 hijacked planes that crashed into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and a Pennsylvanian field on that fatal day of September 11, 2001. She was on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon while on her way to Los Angeles to tape her next guest appearance on the series “Politically Incorrect” on ABC TV.
Bill however did pay a very fitting Tribute to “Barbara Todd” who was one of his regular guest panelist on “Politically Incorrect” since it began in 1994. After her death on 11 September 2001 he left one of his 4 guest chairs empty for an entire week of episodes.