Bill Maher by Sam Jones/HBO Bill Maher by Sam Jones/HBO

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher - which had its previous season cut short by the onset of the WGA strike - returns Friday with new episodes but minus two of its regular features. According to the Reporter, as peers Jay Leno and David Letterman did upon their own returns, Maher will replace his opening monologue with some audience interaction, playing off his experiences as a stand-up comedian.

Also gone is the scripted closing segment "New Rules." To fill the time, Real Time will feature an extended version of its roundtable discussion with guests. Me, I'd be enthralled to simply have Bill explain how he has hooked up with such a litany of fabulous ladies. Must be the "funny" thing. Women dig funny.