Bill Maher Predicts Joe Biden Beats Donald Trump In 2024 Match Up; HBO Host Center Stage As CNN Launches New 9 PM Strategy

“If it’s Biden against Trump, Biden will win – that’s a good bet,” Bill Maher predicted to Jake Tapper tonight on CNN of a potential 2024 showdown between the 2020 rivals.  

“I think he’s done the job perfectly fine .. generally, he’s restored normality,” the Real Time with Bill Maher host said of the 46th POTUS in the first edition of the CNN Primetime on Tuesday.  “I don’t mind at all that he’s 82, 84, 86,” Maher added, taking on one of the top Joe Biden critiques. “We have an important  decision to make, go to the elders,” the comedian went on to say with a swing at a society that doesn’t value the aged – though Maher admitted Biden was no “James Brown at the Apollo.”

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In the latest swing by CNN chief Chris Licht to rebrand the cable newser, Maher’s appearance kicks off a new version of  9 PM ET slot that aims to stand as counter programming to pundit and opinion heavy MSNBC and the dominance of Fox News’ Sean Hannity. With that, the corporate cousin Maher stayed pretty much in the lane that fans of HBO’s Real Time hear week after week. Taking mainly softballs from Tapper, Maher rolled out his greatest hits of Trump, Biden, the pandemic, organized religion, the culture wars, “wokeism,” and weed.

In that context, Maher pondered to Tapper tonight that the secret to his decades long success is simple: “People are looking for something  that isn’t slanted.”

“Just like in life, you don’t always agree with your friends on everything.”

In his interview, Maher, who has warned about the threat that comedians face because of “cancel culture,” also told Tapper, “It makes me laugh when people say to me, ‘You know, you are uncancelable. Are you kidding? In two seconds, I could get canceled. Anybody could.” 

Weaving into a defensive posture more than once on issues like Trans rights, Maher’s chat with the disarmingly affable The Lead front man was a relatively soft launch as CNN looks to fill the 9 PM hour with a mixture of well-known names and special events, rather than a five-night-a-week host. Instead, according to sources, personalities would appear once a week or as specials. Searching for viewers and following the David Zaslav endorsed dictate of a variety of voices, Republican and otherwise, the Ted Turner founded network has cast a wide net for prospects outside of news.

No solid plans have been announced, but in an interview with The New York Post last week, Charles Barkley said that “they are trying to pair Gayle King and me,” confirming an earlier report in Puck of the network’s interest. He made clear that it would not be a daily show, while King has a contract with CBS. 

Maher, meanwhile, already has been enlisted to fill parts of CNN’s nighttime hours, as his Real Time Overtime, an extension of his HBO series, is run on the network on Friday nights. 

As for the new 9 PM, Thursday will see Sara Sidner host CNN Primetime: Jill Biden Abroad, featuring Arlette Saenz’s sit-down with the first lady on her recent trip to Africa. March 3 finds Erin Burnett talking with Dasha Navalnaya, the daughter of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny in CNN Primetime: Navalny And The Cost Of Standing Up To Putin. Among other guests on the critical look at the Russian president,  the long-time CNN host will also interviews Daniel Roher, director of the Oscar nominated Navalny documentary.

That’s Week 1.

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