DAVID BIANCULLI

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REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
February 17, 2017  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

 

It’s not unusual for Bill Maher to make headlines for what he or his guests say on his late-night current-events-and-comedy discussion program – but this time, he’s made headlines even before the live show is televised. One of Maher’s scheduled guests tonight is Milo Yiannopoulos (pictured), the inflammatory figure whose scheduled appearance earlier this month at the University of California, Berkeley, was canceled after angry protesters gathered in front of the venue, threw bricks and set fires. Yiannopoulos writes for the Breitbart website, was banned from Twitter for his tweets attacking and targeting Saturday Night Live regular Leslie Jones, and calls himself a “free-speech fundamentalist.” Maher indeed believes that booking Yiannopoulos is an example of free speech, and, as a standup comic, has long observed that college campus audiences seem to be more protective, insular, and resistant to hearing views contrary to their own. Another guest booked for tonight’s show, journalist Jeremy Scahill, has refused to appear, in protest of Yiannopoulos being given a voice on TV. But Maher counters that giving such views exposure, and countering them with intelligent debate, is the best way to combat them. On that count, I agree with Maher. And apparently, so do Larry Wilmore, and actress Leah Remini, who are among Maher’s other scheduled guests tonight.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for under $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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