‘Real Time with Bill Maher’: Will Milo Yiannopoulos controversy help or hurt HBO program?

Over the course of his career, Bill Maher has never shied away from controversy. In the first five weeks of the 15th season of his HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher,” though, Maher seems to have upped the ante with many on-screen moments going viral, including this week’s fight with the controversial editor of Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos. Could the explosive start to the new season help the series break its 14-year losing streak at the Emmy Awards? Vote in our poll below.

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Last week, after a relatively tame few weeks since returning from hiatus on Inauguration Day, “Real Time” inadvertently triggered a Twitter war between Piers Morgan, J.K. Rowling and E.L. James after show guest Jim Jeffries told off Morgan on the air. Even that high-profile spat had nothing on this week’s episode, though.

After announcing that Yiannopoulos would be appearing on the show, scheduled guest Jeremy Scahill declined to appear. A well-known proponent of free speech, Maher defended his controversial decision to invite Yiannopoulos, which had drawn the ire of many Hollywood liberals. While many thought Maher’s one-on-one interview with Yiannopoulos lacked fireworks, viewers got the showdown they were waiting for in the “Overtime” discussion, where both comedian Larry Wilmore and intelligence officer Malcolm Nance told Yiannopoulos to “f*** off,” just as Gold Derby editor Daniel Montgomery predicted Maher’s guests might. As of this writing, the “Overtime” segment has more than 4.6 million views on YouTube (watch video above).

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Will this huge uptick in visibility help “Real Time with Bill Maher” win its first Emmy Award? Despite never winning an Emmy for “Real Time” after 18 nominations, Maher has certainly not been a stranger to the TV academy. His numerous political series, including ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” and specials have earned him a whopping 38 career nominations as a host, writer, and executive producer.

Despite this acclaim, Maher has only won one time for his behind-the-scenes work on HBO’s informational series “Vice.” Considering the intensity with which Hollywood has reacted to the current political climate, Emmy voters may find this upcoming ceremony the perfect time to recognize “Real Time.”

Dish ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums

Although Maher’s topical and often viral episodes may keep “Real Time” top of mind with Emmy voters, he may be thwarted again by fellow HBO series “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Now in its fourth season, “Last Week Tonight” has already amassed 10 Emmy nominations and four wins, including last year’s victories for Best Variety Series and Best Writing for a Variety Series.

Do you think “Real Time With Bill Maher” stands a chance of taking down “Last Week Tonight” at the 2017 Emmy Awards? After voting in our poll, be sure to sound off in our TV forums.

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