ABC cancelled the show even though its ratings were strong, and in some markets it was beating out The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992). Host Bill Maher has been quoted as saying it was because the politically conservative Walt Disney Corp., which owned ABC, didn't like his criticisms of the government of President George W. Bush.
ABC temporary pulled the show off the air when host Bill Maher agreed with conservative author Dinesh D'Souza that it was inappropriate to label the 9/11 hijackers as "cowards" due to the fact that they sacrificed their lives for their cause. Fed Ex and Sears withdrew their sponsorship.
Political commentator Barbara Olson, who died in the 9/11 attacks, was traveling to L.A. for a taping of the show when her plane was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. In her memory, Bill Maher left a seat on the panel open for a week.