Bill Maher: My Atheism Probably Costs Me Emmys

by | September 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM | TV News

Bill Maher (HBO)

Bill Maher (HBO)

Lobbying for a coveted Emmy Award has become a game of PR wars, from blitzing trade publication ads to trotting A-listers out to the press. But could those statue campaigns be influenced by religious wars? That’s a theory put forth by comedian and HBO star Bill Maher, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his lack of Emmy love.

“A panel of, like, 10 people watches one tape. If half of those people are religious, that probably eliminates me right there,” Maher said. “A lot of people wouldn’t vote for such an outspoken atheist.”

Bill Maher Mocks Religion, Tea Party and Leno On ‘Tonight Show’

Whether or not his religiously and politically controversial talking points on ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ (and previously on the canceled ‘Politically Incorrect’) are to blame for his lack of a win, the numbers don’t lie. And to date, Maher has zero Emmy statues on his mantle, despite having been nominated 26 times.

Such snubbing hasn’t deterred Maher from keeping things candid on his HBO show, which returns for its ninth season Friday. His fellow outspoken atheist, Christopher Hitchens, is still on Maher’s mind for a return to the pay-cable talker.

“I expect [Hitchens] to be back on our panel, if not this season then next,” Maher said, after professing that Hitchens is not likely to make a “deathbed conversion” just because he is battling cancer.

Maher took his atheist point of view from television to the movie theaters with his recent feature documentary, ‘Religulous’ – a project he tried convincing Hollywood to produce for 10 years. “Having made it I feel I have harpooned my Moby Dick,” Maher attests.