NORFOLK, Virginia, U.S.A. — Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech … unless you’re a talk show host named Bill Maher.
Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” late night show on ABC was cancelled recently after he upset the network and a number of viewers.
Maher’s show originally aired on Comedy Central, but moved to ABC about five years ago. It featured famous and political figures in sometimes controversial debates about politics, religion and popular culture.
So why was this show dropped? There are always two sides to every story, and this one is no exception.
The network claims it dumped the show to make its late night television programming more appealing to younger viewers.
“We made a decision to go with straight entertainment programming in late-night,” ABC chairman Lloyd Braun told reporters. “That’s just basically a scheduling opportunity that we felt over the long-term had more potential.”
Many people also said that a decrease in ratings also had an affect on the show’s cancellation
Maher, however, has another opinion.
He told reporters he believes his show was cancelled because of a comment he made on the air six days after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
On that show, Maher said, “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.”
After a firestorm of criticism erupted about the comment, Maher explained that he believed that politicians and not servicemen were cowardly.
Nevertheless, Sears and FedEx immediately took their ads from his show.
On a show in his last week Maher revealed that the ratings were not the cause of the cancellation.
He declared that many people used ratings as an excuse to get rid of him because they were too lazy to get the real information.
In addition, Maher seems to have no regret making the statement that may have cost him his job.
Regardless of which story is accurate, “Politically Incorrect” will be replaced with a new show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, co-star of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show.”
As the nation says farewell to “Politically Incorrect,” fans hope that this is neither Maher’s last TV show nor the end of public debates on very important, yet controversial issues.
Andrea Easter is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.