What Happened To Your Favorite 90s Talk Show Hosts?

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Jerry Springer – Then

Jerry Springer is often credited for being the originator of the “trash TV” tabloid-style talk show. The show was incredibly controversial at first and has been censured by the FCC multiple times.

Jerry Springer – Now

Many things have been said about Jerry Springer – but there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: there’s no stopping him. His eponymous show has now been on the air for 26 seasons and has reached nearly 4,000 episodes! In an interview with Reuters News Agency back in 2000, Jerry himself admitted that his show isn’t Shakespeare: “I would never watch my show. I’m not interested in it. It’s not aimed towards me. This is just a silly show.”

Maury Povich – Then

You may not have known this, but Maury Povich started his career as a serious journalist. In 1984, he married fellow journalist Connie Chung. After graduating from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania in 1962 with a degree in journalism, he became a reporter for Washington D.C. TV station WWDC. Povich hosted the news show talk show ‘A Current Affair’, but left the program in 1991 to host his own daytime talk show, The Maury Povich Show.

Maury Povich – Now

The show is still going strong nearly 30 years after it originally premiered, in 1991. The show has run for 26 seasons and has a total of 2,640 episodes! In a column for USA Today, Whitney Matheson condemned the show majorly, writing that, “Povich’s talk show is, without a doubt, the worst thing on television. Period. Don’t be fooled by the pressed shirt and pleated khakis; Maury is miles farther down the commode than Jerry Springer.”

Oprah – Then

Oprah quickly shot to fame when her eponymous talk show debuted in 1990. Time magazine wrote of her: “Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey’s swift rise to hosting of the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk. What she lacks in journalistic toughness, she makes up for in plainspoken curiosity, robust humor and, above all empathy. It is the talk show as a group therapy session.”

Oprah – Now

Since her talk show came to an end, Oprah has remained in the spotlight due to her wildly successful media ventures. She’s got her magazine, TV channel, and lifestyle website, which each draw an audience that numbers in the millions. Oprah now lives at her 42-acre estate, dubbed “The Promised Land,” in Montecito, California. Her latest venture has been as a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, a role she took on after buying 10% of the corporation.

Jenny Jones – Then

Jenny Jones has had quite the life. Born Janina Stronski in Bethelem to Polish parents, who were both officers in the Polish army, and then immigrated to Ontario, Canada with her parents at the age of 5. Her talk show was canceled after a guest who ended up murdering another guest. The New York Times wrote that ”This industry has got to clean itself up because these people care nothing about the people they use and abuse,” Mr. Fieger said.

Jenny Jones – Now

Since her show went off the air, Jenny Jones has had a bit of a rough patch. She lost a multi-million dollar lawsuit and had since decided to stay out of the spotlight. Her only public venture has been a YouTube cooking channel. Jenny also has a generous streak – she gave away a total of 1 million dollars of her fortune through a website, called Jenny’s Heroes, where individual people could apply for grants to help those in their communities.

Ricki Lake – Then

Ricki Lake rose to fame when she played the lead role of Tracey Turnblad in John Waters’ film version of the Broadway musical Hairspray. Her bubbly and infectious personality was a hit with audiences, and TV producers took notice. She was cast as the host of her own daytime TV talk show, Ricki, at the age of 24, making her the youngest talk show host ever. The show debuted in 1993 and featured paternity and lie detector tests.

Ricki Lake – Now

After 11 seasons and a drop in ratings, her show was canceled. However, the show was massively popular in syndication and still runs in the United Kingdom during daytime hours. Since the ending of her show, Ricki has managed to remain in the spotlight. She competed on the 13th season of Dancing With The Stars and finished in a respectable third place. She’s also produced several documentary films, about medical cannabis and the dangers of the hormonal birth control pill.

Phil Donahue – Then

While Jerry Springer is often credited as the first person to bring in the tabloid TV talk show format, Phil Donahue is the originator of the genre. His daytime TV talk show, called The Phil Donahue Show, ran all the way from 1967 to 1996 – making it the longest running syndicated talk show in American history. The show was the first of its kind to discuss specific taboo topics, many related to women’s health and wellness.

Phil Donahue – Now

Phil Donahue has enjoyed career success after his talk show ended. He’s been happily married to actress Marlo Thomas since 1980. During his career, he’s been awarded 20 Emmy awards – half of them for the work he did on The Phil Donahue Show. In July 2002, he returned to TV after a several year hiatus for another talk show, this time on MSNBC. The show only lasted for one season. He also served as co-director on the film Body Of War.

Geraldo Rivera – Then

Geraldo Rivera was born for the spotlight. Everyone remembers his terrible moment when he had an intense lead-up before revealing the contents of “Al Capone’s Vault” – Geraldo had hyped it up as a potential treasure chest, but it ended up being exposed on live TV as a completely empty cellar! One of the most unforgettable moments of his show was when during a brawl between guests, Geraldo got a broken nose after a chair was thrown at him.

Geraldo Rivera – Now

Geraldo hasn’t strayed far from the spotlight since his eponymous show, Geraldo, was cancelled in 1996 after 11 seasons. He’s a frequent face on Fox News, reporting on the war in Afghanistan after being embedded with American troops. He also travelled with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. He’s also quite the reality star: he competed on the 14th season of the Celebrity Apprentice, and on season 22 of Dancing with the Stars, being the first contestant eliminated from the program.

Montel Williams – Then

Montel Williams was in the navy for 22 years before getting his own talk show. He covered important topics and was loved by millions. However, his show wasn’t without controversy. It often featured one guest in particular who made headlines in a bad way. Critics said Montel lost integrity by frequently hosting “self-professed psychic Sylvia Browne, who told a desperate couple that their missing son, Shawn Hornbeck was dead.” The boy turned up alive around a year later.

Montel Williams – Now

Montel has channeled his fame into political activism. He’s passionate about legalization of medical cannabis across the United States, as he uses it to deal with his MS. He’s also an advocate for the rights of US military veterans. The chief spokesman for Partnership for Prescription Assistance, he’s passionate about providing prescriptions at a reduced cost for low-income patients. He’s done some guest appearances on popular TV shows like JAG, Touched by an Angel, Guiding Light, and All My Children.

Sally Jessy Raphael – Then

Sally Jessy Raphael was known for her trademark red glasses – and her scandalous show topics. Talking about how the producers of her show forced her to pursue topics that she thought were too tawdry, she said in an interview: “I hated them. I was betrayed by some of the producers into doing that. Come to think of it, I should have fought harder for what I knew was right — what I knew that I didn’t want to do.”

Sally Jessy Raphael – Now

The daytime talk show had an impressive 19 season, 3,820 episode run, before it finally went off the air in 2002. Since then, Sally Jessy Raphael hasn’t returned to the small screen – but she’s still in the limelight. Sally’s impact on the broadcasting industry can’t be underestimated: she was named by Talkers Magazine to both their 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all time, and the 25 Greatest Television Talk Show Hosts of all time.

Leeza Gibbons – Then

You may not have known this, but the show that made Leeza Gibbons famous – Leeza – was originally a show that she co-hosted! The first title was John & Leeza from Hollywood, and she shared the stage with John Tesh! However, he left after one season and the show was re-branded as Leeza. The show ran from 1993 to 2000, with a grand total of 1,270 episodes. Leeza was nominated for a whopping 27 Daytime Emmy Awards, and won 3 in the end.

Leeza Gibbons – Now

Leeza has kept herself busy since her show went off the air. She wrote a New York Times best-selling book “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss”, about her own struggles while caring for a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. She won the NBC reality game-show series Celebrity Apprentice in 2015, defeating fellow talk show host Geraldo Rivera in the finale. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2013.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck – Then

Elisabeth Hasselbeck wasn’t known for her journalism, like Barbara Walters, before she became a host of The View in 1999. But what she did have on her track record was plenty of previous TV experience. She was a finalist on the original season of Survivor. She was known for her on-screen fights with co-host Rosie O’Donnell. The two often butted heads majorly when it came to politics, and clips of the heated debates are still used as memes today.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck – Now

After The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck has become a well-respected pundit. Elisabeth was a keynote speaker at the Republican National Conventions at both 2004 and 2008. She left The View in order to join Fox and Friends. She’s also written a New York Times best-selling book, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, about how she’s changed her eating habits to help manage her Celiac disease. She was named one of the “25 most influential women in the GOP.”

Rosie O’Donnell – Then

Rosie O Donnell hosted her own talk show from 1996 to 2002. One of the most memorable moments was when she had a heated debate with actor Tom Selleck. She said at the end of the show that the interview had, “not gone the way I had hoped it had gone. But, I would like to thank you for appearing anyway, knowing that we have differing views. I was happy that you decided to come on the show.”

Rosie O’Donnell – Now

After her eponymous talk show ended in 2002, Rosie didn’t stray far from the spotlight. Almost immediately after, she was cast as a host on The View, replacing the departing Meredith Vieira . There, she got into many heated debates with her co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. PARADE Magazine named Rosie “The Most Annoying Celebrity of 2007”. She was unbothered by the dubious distinction, saying in an interview, “Frankly, most celebrities are annoying … and I suppose I am the most annoying, but, whatever.”

Queen Latifah – Then

You might have forgotten, but multi-talented singer/rapper/actress Queen Latifah actually hosted her own eponymous talk show from 1999 to 2002! The Advocate described the show’s style as “Dear Abby for the Hip-Hop Generation.” Queen Latifah’s sympathetic style was reminiscent of Oprah, and the kindness she showed to both celebrity and non-celebrity guests meant that oftentimes her guests revealed personal details. But she wasn’t the only hip-hop royalty involved in the show – it was produced by Will Smith!

Queen Latifah – Now

Since her TV show went off the airwaves, Queen Latifah has definitely kept herself busy – and in the spotlight. She tried her hand at acting in the movie version of the Broadway musical ‘Chicago’, and ended up earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her musical style has shifted away from hip-hop and more towards traditional singing – she performed “God Bless America” at the 2010 SuperBowl. She’s also a well-known spokeswoman for CoverGirl cosmetics.

Arsenio Hall – Then

The Arsenio Hall wasn’t just a late night staple – it was a cultural phenomenon. The show ran for 6 seasons and ended with a whopping total of 1,406 episodes. Probably the most memorable moment on the program was when then-Presidential candidate Bill Clinton appeared on the show during his campaign and played the saxophone in front of the live studio audience. It led to one of Arsenio’s most famous jokes: “It’s nice to see a Democrat blow something besides the election.”

Arsenio Hall – Now

Since his show went off the air, Arsenio decided to take a break from the spotlight. This led to a lot of rumors circulating about him on the web, and Arsenio dealt with it in the most Arenio-esque way possible: “I went on the Internet and read I was in detox at Betty Ford, I got online under a fake name and typed in, ‘I know Arsenio better than anyone else and he’s not in detox, you idiots!'”

Dr. Phil – Then

Originally, Dr. Phil McGraw was just a humble psychologist with his own private therapy practice based out of Texas. But a chance encounter with the most powerful woman in show business meant that he ended up with his very own talk show. Yes, Oprah happened to read one of Dr. Phil’s books, and decided that she liked him enough that she gave him recurring guest appearances on her show. This led to him getting his own spin-off series.

Dr. Phil – Now

But despite getting set up for success by one of the most popular talk show hosts of all time, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Dr. Phil. He’s been plagued recently by a number of scandals and lawsuits, and has been accused of unethical therapeutic practices. Critics have called his show exploitative. However, the show is still going strong, as viewers can’t get enough of his down to Earth southern charm and practical life advice.

David Letterman – Then

Before he became a staple of the late night talk show hosts (and a major participant in the 80s and 90s “late night battles”), David Letterman did his rounds as a stand up comedian. He appeared on the “Tonight Show” way back when it was hosted by Johnny Carson, as well as the Late Show with Pat Sajak. He originally hosted a 90 minute morning talk show, and proved popular enough with audiences that producers stuck him in the late night slot.

David Letterman – Now

David has since retired from his post after years of having his own late night show, but he still remembers his feud with Jay Leno. He joked, after a message was posted on an Al Qaeda message board calling for him to be assassinated after he made a joke about ISIS, “State Department authorities are looking into this. They’re not taking this lightly. They’re looking into it. They’re questioning, they’re interrogating, there’s an electronic trail—but everybody knows it’s Leno.”

Jay Leno – Then

Jay Leno was one of the top stand up comedians in the United States before replacing Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. The decision was considered controversial, as everyone had expected David Letterman to take on the iconic role – especially since Johnny Carson had publicly expressed that he intended to hand the baton to David. However, despite the ensuing media circus, Jay flourished in the role and always maintained extremely high audience ratings and held the post for years.

Jay Leno – Now

But replacing Johnny Carson instead of the favored David Letterman wasn’t the only controversy that Jay weathered during his career. More recently, he was expected to retire and hand over the job to Conan O’Brien, but reneged at the last second. He explained of the job, “You hold it and hand it off to the next person. And I don’t want to see all the fighting.” He added, rather flippantly, “Conan, it’s yours! See you in five years, buddy!”

Joan Rivers – Then

Joan Rivers earned the nickname “The Queen of Mean” for a reason. She was known for her acerbic wit and never holding back when she “roasted” a guest. But the thing that she ended up making the most money from wasn’t her Emmy winning late night show – it was her foray into TV shopping! “In those days, only dead celebrities went on [QVC]. My career was over. I had bills to pay. […] It also intrigued me at the beginning,” she said.

Joan Rivers – Now

After her late night talk show ended, Joan never strayed very far from the spotlight. Almost immediately, she was recruited to be the main host of the E! Network show “The Fashion Police”, which was the perfect outlet for her to showcase her sharp jabs and insult comedy. She often hosted the show with her daughter, Melissa Rivers, as her co-host, and appeared on reality shows together with her including The Celebrity Apprentice and Celebrity Family Feud.

Chris Matthews – Then

Long before the O’Reilly Factor, The Glen Beck Show, and Fox & Friends, there was one original network TV news network host who wasn’t afraid to tell it how it is, even if that meant yelling, screaming, and insulting his guests. Chris Matthews, who hosted Hardball With Chris Matthews, was the originator of the cable news talk show genre. He broke the previous protocol of decorum on so-called “debate” shows and encouraged tons of drama instead of reasoned discussion.

Chris Matthews – Now

Since going off the air, Chris has had plenty of time to reflect on his role as a political talk show host. He shared his thoughts in an interview with a journalist from Politico magazine. He said, “People, in the end, need substance, and they stop watching shows after a while when they’re not getting anything out of them, and I really believe that’s true. “We’re teachers. Maybe that’s pompous, but if you’re not giving people information, you’re failing.”

Ellen DeGeneres – Then

Ellen DeGeneres had quite the career before becoming a talk show host. She had plenty of TV experience under her belt, having been a stand up comedian who made the rounds on all the late night talk shows, and even having her own eponymous sitcom called Ellen. However, the decision to give Ellen her own day time talk show was a risky one for network executives, as she had caused major controversy by coming out of the closet in 1997.

Ellen DeGeneres – Now

So far, Ellen’s delivered an impressive 2,423 episodes of her show, which has now lasted for a whopping 19 seasons. Guest on the show have included everyone from super stars like Angelina Jolie to Ellen’s own mother. However, she drew criticism for crossing the picket line to continue filming her show during a writer’s strike. She explained “I’ve got 135 employees that rely on me for a paycheck. But it’s been the hardest thing in the world driving onto this lot.”

Whoopi Goldberg – Then

You may not have known this, but Whoopi Goldberg actually hosted her own eponymous late night talk show. The show lasted for one season and totaled 200 episodes, but the guest list that Whoopi managed to get during the program’s brief run is quite impressive. The first ever guest was legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, and Robin Williams, Barry Manilow, Queen Latifah, Drew Barrymore, and Alec Baldwin also made appearances. Also interesting to note – there was no studio audience.

Whoopi Goldberg – Now

Since Whoopi’s talk show went off the air, she didn’t stray far from that line of work. She ended up replacing Rosie O’Donnell on The View, where, just like Rosie, she ended up nearly coming to blows multiple times with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Whoopi has the distinction of being one of the few entertainers ever to win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony, and Grammy. She’s been in more than 150 movies and was once the highest paid actresses in Hollywood.

Bill O’Reilly – Then

Bill O Reilly quickly became one of the most popular pundits on Fox News, after getting his show on the network called The O’Reilly Factor. He said when asked about his political beliefs, “I’m not a political guy in the sense that I embrace an ideology. To this day I’m an independent thinker, an independent voter, I’m a registered independent … [T]here are certain fundamental things that this country was founded upon that I respect and don’t want to be changed.”

Bill O’Reilly – Now

After a series of major scandals, O’Reilly ended up stepping down from his show after 20 seasons. Media analyst Howard Kurtz described Bill O Reilly as “the biggest star in the 20-year history of Fox News.” Aside from hosting the O’Reilly Factor, he launched a podcast called No Spin News in 2014, which he recently transitioned into a video series. On a lighter note, he also had a cameo in the summer blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Joy Behar – Then

Joy Behar initially made her name as a comedienne and actress, but journalist Barbara Walters roped her into becoming one of the original panel members of The View. She became known for her wit and peace-keeping nature, as she often stepped into the feuds of the guests and co-hosts, trying to make everyone get along. However, she had one obscene exchange with former co-host Star Jones that went viral. It was especially shocking because it seemed to come out of nowhere.

Joy Behar – Now

In 2013, Joy decided that she needed to leave the show to pursue other projects. She stated in an interview that, “It seemed like the right time…You reach a point when you say to yourself, ‘Do I want to keep doing this?’ There are other things on my plate I want to do — I’ve been writing a play, I’ve been neglecting my standup.” She’s since competed in Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown and made an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Laura Bozzo – Then

You may not have heard of her, but Laura Bozzo is one of the most famous TV talk show hosts of all time. The Spanish language host was born in Peru and made a name for herself as a lawyer, then ended up hosting her show called Laura En America. The show was broadcast by Telemundo in the United States and was the second most viewed daytime talk show in the United States, only beat by Jerry Springer.

Laura Bozzo – Now

Since her show was canceled, Laura Bozzo remained busy. She relocated from Peru to Mexico for a new Telemundo program, for which she earned a whopping $13 million a season, called “Laura de todos: sin Miedo a la verdad.” The show is a marked departure from her original show – it’s much more of a tabloid-style show in the vein of Jerry Springer. Paternity test, lie detector tests, and family secrets are all frequent topics on the program.

Carnie Wilson – Then

Carnie Wilson was born into a famous family. Her father, Brian Wilson, was a founding member of legendary surf rock band The Beach Boys and wrote many of the group’s most iconic songs. At first, she tried her hand at singing, forming an all-girl group called Wilson Phillips with her sister Wendy and their close family friend Chyna Phillips. But you may not have known that back in 1995 she had her own talk show on NBC!

Carnie Wilson – Now

Since her talk show ended, Carnie Wilson has always managed to find a way to remain in the spotlight. In the last few years, she’s made a number of appearances on reality TV shows like The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills and The New Celebrity Apprentice. The California native resides not far from where she was born, in Bel Air. She’s been married to musician and music producer Robert Bonfiglio since 2000. The couple has two daughters, Lola and Luciana.

Danny Bonaduce – Then

The name Danny Bonaduce is synonymous with the term “troubled child star” but you may not have realized that in 1993, he actually had his own (short-lived) talk show! It ran on ABC, and it’s primarily known for the fact that the first episode was the only one that managed to get actual celebrity guests. As you may have guessed, Danny called up his old Partridge Family co-stars, and everyone from David Cassidy to Shirley Jones showed up.

Danny Bonaduce – Now

Danny Bonaduce never gave up and never stayed out of the spotlight for long. Even though his eponymous talk show lasted for only a season, he’s done everything he can to avoid fading into obscurity. Danny’s had more success on the radio – he’s still the host of a long-running radio talk show that’s lasted for 15 years now. He’s also happily married to his third wife, Amy Railsback, and is a doting father to two children, Dante and Isabella.

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