By James Hibberd
Updated July 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM EDT

HBO just announced a renewal for Real Time with Bill Maher for a tenth season at the TV critics tour. The comedian hit the stage and started trying to appeal to the crowd by making quasi-flattering partisan “us vs. them” jokes, comparing the media elite to the rest of the country. The crowd was nearly silent. “This is pointless,” Maher said, giving up on the routine. He added about the renewal: “Some people like having a feud with their network, but I actually like working here. I don’t understand why other networks don’t adopt the HBO formula — hire people you like and trust and let them do their thing.” Now that’s a statement the critics can agree with.