HBO renews 'Real Time With Bill Maher'

Ninth-season pickup is part of a two-year deal with host

HBO is doubling down on Bill Maher, giving his talk show a super-sized renewal.

The pay-cable network is picking up "Real Time With Bill Maher" for a ninth season as part of a two-year deal with the host. As part of the agreement, "Real Time" will air 35 episodes beginning in January.

Excluding some holiday weeks, that will keep "Real Time" on the air through November.

"This pickup is one of the greatest of all time," said HBO Entertainment senior vp Nancy Geller, who has worked with Maher since his days hosting ABC's "Politically Incorrect." "He will be on basically a whole year, which has been my goal at HBO."

The overall agreement includes a one-hour stand-up special Maher is working on, and the comedian is developing another project in the early stages.

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