Daytime TV Talk Shows


3 minutes

Daytime Television Talk Shows are not unique to the United States, but their popularity in the U.S. is arguably unparalleled in the rest of the world. The talk shows air during the day between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and the format consists of usually one host who discusses various topics with a guest. Some shows such as The View and The Talk may feature several hosts all at once.

The target audience members for these shows are people who are home during the day: college students, senior citizens, and stay at home parents. Talk show guests will have sometimes have a problem or issue that needs to be sorted out on the air. The guest may also be a celebrity or an expert who is being interviewed. Doctors talking about health and diets are popular guests for talk shows, perhaps because health is a popular issue for senior citizens and stay at home parents.

Daytime shows on television have their history in radio talk shows and with nighttime television shows like The Tonight Show, which started in 1954, hosted by a comedian named Steve Allen. Some TV experts say that the show that pioneered modern daytime talk on television is the Phil Donahue Show. Phil Donahue is notable for being the first host to introduce audience participation, allowing members of the audience to ask questions of the guests. Participation is still popular on some shows like the Jerry Springer show, or the Steve Wilkos show, where audience members ask questions and often make snide remarks about the guests on the panel. One notable show, the Maury Povich Show, once known for audience participation, now features DNA tests of children whose parentage is unknown and/or lovers caught cheating by lie detector tests. Children with weight problems are recurring guests on the show as well.

In 1970, the Phil Donahue Show entered what is known as syndication. Syndication means that you can sell the rights to air your show directly to multiple local stations instead of going through a national broadcast network like CBS or ABC. Instead of airing all at the same time like a nationally broadcast show, syndicated shows run whenever the local stations see fit to put them on. The benefit of running a show through syndication is that the local networks pay the producers of the show directly.

In 1986 Oprah Winfrey began her syndicated television talk show. Produced by Winfrey herself, the show became the highest rated television talk show in American history. Early on, The Oprah Winfrey Show aired human-interest stories and had guests who would talk about their personal problems. In recent years, as the show has gained in popularity she has drawn more notable guests including politicians and A-list celebrities. The show consistently drew 7 to 10 million viewers, with a high of 13 million viewers in 1992. The success of the Oprah Winfrey show has made her the first billionaire talk show host and one of the wealthiest women in the world.

Daytime talk television has grown over the years. Though the daytime audience is smaller than prime time, some daytime producers have found great financial success through syndication. Culturally, daytime talk has its proponents and its critics. Fans of daytime talk television generally find the shows entertaining and even uplifting. Some shows such as the Dr. Oz Show and the Dr. Phil Show purport to help guests overcome psychological or health problems. Others criticize daytime talk for being exploitative or poor quality television. In either case, there are no signs that the ratings of the daytime shows will slow down any time soon. Shows like Dr. Phil and the Ellen DeGeneres show are currently the top ratings grabbers in daytime.

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Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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