As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I watched a lot of TV as a kid. More than I do now, anyway. In fact, the TV habit didn’t really stick around into my adult life, which became busy with school and work, sometimes both at the same time. These days, I actually watch very little TV and I tend to criticize of a lot of the junk that’s on TV now, especially the so-called reality shows. Oh, and shows like Man v. Food. I don’t mind that he visits different cities and highlights good food, but the eating challenges gross me out to no end.
One genre that I seemed to enjoy as a kid (or maybe it was just because my mom, grandmother, or whoever was in the room was watching it) was the TV talk show. I don’t mean the late night versions hosted by Johnny Carson or David Letterman, but rather those that have been classified as tabloid talk shows or, more disparagingly, “trash TV” when you start consider the likes of Jenny Jones or Jerry Springer. I’m actually referring to the early pioneers, such as Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, and the one and only Oprah Winfrey.
(I’m learning a lot from Wikipedia during this challenge, by the way.)
Coincidentally, Oprah hosted an episode of her show in 2010 that talked about where the other hosts are now. (Answer: They had all but faded away….) Since then, it seems like everyone and their cousin has attempted to host a show…Tyra Banks, Rachael Ray, even Danny Bonaduce.
Did you have a favorite talk show or host? There were a lot in the 80s and 90s, but the most prominent included:
- Phil Donahue
- Sally Jessy Raphael
- Oprah Winfrey
- Geraldo Rivera
- Montel Williams
- Ricki Lake
- Maury Povich
Many people think that, once the TV talk show era was ending, audiences started shifting over to the next best thing: reality TV. My question is where do Dr. Phil and the other “doctors” fit in today? (Don’t forget that he was “launched” by Oprah!) I watched Dr. Phil for a while, but lately, even he seems to have shifted into wanting to be more controversial and inviting certain guests based on the trashiness of their situations, and not in an honest attempt to help them.
The Doctors is a spin-off of Dr. Phil, who spun off from Oprah. Then there’s Dr. Oz, also co-produced by Oprah’s company, Harpo Productions. At one time, many hosts seemed to be offering a kind of therapy to their guests. I’m not sure that’s the case these days.