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Donahue (TV)
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TV Series
    (1970-1996)
    Syndicated
    Tackled social, political and health issues in a talk-show format
    Host was Phil Donahue
    Its most frequent guest was Ralph Nader.
    Its main focus was on liberal issues, sometimes not even bothering to balance the perspective.
    It changed its theme song every ten years.
    Towards the end of its run, in a desperate grab for ratings, it stooped to Jerry Springer levels. It didn't work.
    At one point, they thought it would be a good idea to have a teenage daughter reveal to her father that she was a stripper, simply by having her give him a lap dance.
    An affiliate in New York dropped the show from their schedule, depriving it of its biggest market and ensuring its cancellation (1996).
    It was finally cancelled after the daytime talk market became too saturated and competitive.
    It remains as Phil Donahues only major television success.
    It was the first of the syndicated talk shows where the host goes into the audience and allows audience participation.
    It was unlike the raunchy, sometimes shallow television talk shows that are seen on daytime television today in that it actually discussed real issues.
    It garnered a huge female audience and overthrew the typically narrow, sexist views of previous shows of its type.
    Some of their shows on abortions and birth techniques were banned by local affiliates for political reasons.
    Some even went as far to say showing a reverse vasectomy on television was 'too educational for women and too bloody.'
    Other talk show hosts consider this one to be the granddaddy of them all.
    It was the first show to truly refine the daytime talk show format.
    It won 20 Daytime Emmy Awards during its entire run.
    They were able to celebrate their last show and formally sign off the air by giving Donahue a champagne bath (see photo).

Credit: Captain Howdy


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