Friday night’s kickoff, hours after Trump was sworn in, snagged 1.9 million viewers at 10 PM which is 71% higher than last January’s premiere. Across the night, Maher’s return clocked 2.5M viewers.
Castigating pundits who held out hope Trump finally would pivot to his Presidential Persona on Inauguration Day, Maher said in his debut show, of the Inaugural speech, “It wasn’t classy or unifying. It was joyless and ugly and dividing.”
“At what point,” Maher asked, “are people going to realize there is no normal president inside the Trump fat suit?”
Maher’s first guest of his new season Jane Fonda, who also was a keynote speaker at the next day’s Women’s March in Los Angeles, repeatedly called President Trump “the Predator in Chief.”
Viewership stats aren’t final since they do not include additional replays and viewing on other HBO platforms. Last year’s Real Time season averaged a gross crowd of 4.5M viewers and early indications are this run will be higher.