Talk show

Talk show

A talk show (American and Australian English) or chat show (British) is a television program or radio program where one person (or group of people) discuss various topics put forth by a talk show host.[1]

Sometimes, talk shows feature a panel of guests, usually consisting of a group of people who are learned or who have great experience in relation to whatever issue is being discussed on the show for that episode. Other times, a single guest discusses their work or area of expertise with a host or co-hosts. A call-in show takes live phonecalls from callers listening at home, in their cars, etc. Sometimes, guests are already seated but are often introduced and enter from backstage. Gay Byrne, Steve Allen, Jack Parr, Johnny Carson,[2] Ed Sullivan, Oprah Winfrey, Rush Limbaugh, and Mosunmola Abudu have hosted notable talk shows; in many cases, the shows have made their hosts famous.



Television talk shows often feature celebrity guests who talk about their work and personal lives as well as the their latest films, TV shows, music recordings or other projects they'd like to promote to the public. The hosts are often comedians who open the shows with comedy monologues.

Talk-radio host Howard Stern also hosted a talk show that was syndicated nationally in the USA, then moved to satellite radio's Sirius. The tabloid talk show genre, pioneered by Phil Donahue[3] but popularized by Oprah Winfrey[4] was extremely popular during the last two decades of the 20th century.[5]

Politics are hardly the only subject of American talk shows, however. Other radio talk show subjects include Car Talk hosted by NPR and Coast to Coast AM hosted by Art Bell and George Noory which discusses topics of the paranormal, conspiracy theories, fringe science and the just plain weird. Sports talk shows are also very popular ranging from high-budget shows like The Best Damn Sports Show Period to Max Kellerman's original public-access television cable TV show Max on Boxing.


Talk shows have been broadcast on television since the earliest days of the medium. Joe Franklin, an American radio and television personality, hosted the first television talk show. The show began in 1951 on WJZ-TV (later WABC-TV) and moved to WOR-TV (later WWOR-TV) from 1962 to 1993.[6]

Ireland's The Late Late Show is the world's longest-running talk show;[7][8] although The Tonight Show is equally as old, it has changed formats and titles since its beginnings in 1950.

Steve Allen was the first host of The Tonight Show, which began as a local New York show, being picked up by the NBC network in 1954. It in turn had evolved from his late-night radio talk show in Los Angeles. Allen pioneered the format of late night network TV talk shows, originating such talk show staples as an opening monologue, celebrity interviews, audience participation, and comedy bits in which cameras were taken outside the studio, as well as music.

TV news pioneer Edward R. Murrow[9] hosted a talk show entitled Small World in the late 1950s and since then, political TV talk shows have predominantly aired on Sunday mornings.

Syndicated daily talk shows began to gain more popularity during the mid-1970s and reached their height of with the rise of the tabloid talk show. Morning talk shows gradually replaced earlier forms of programming - there were a plethora of morning game shows during the 1960s and early to mid-1970s, and some stations formerly showed a morning movie in the time slot that many talk shows now occupy.

Current late night talk shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman have aired for years, featuring celebrity guests and comedy sketches. Syndicated daily talk shows range from tabloid talk shows, such as The Jerry Springer Show to celebrity interview shows like Live with Regis and Kelly, The Bonnie Hunt Show, and Ellen to industry leader The Oprah Winfrey Show which popularized the former genre and has been evolving towards the rise of a new brand of successful host such as top rated radio and late night television talk show host S. Scott Conner. On November 10, 2010, Oprah Winfrey invited several of the most prominent American talk show hosts - Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Ricki Lake and Montel Williams - to join her as guests on her show.[10]

Talk shows have more recently started to appear on Internet Radio. Also, several internet blogs are in talk show format including the Baugh Experience.

The Guinness World Record of 40 hours for the longest talk show was broken on the October 27/28, 2007 by Paweł Kotuliński in Poland.

Talk shows in other countries

In Japan, panel shows - called "tooku bangumi" (トーク番組)in Japanese - are very commonplace, accounting for about 30% of daytime and prime-time programming on the four main television stations. Due to language and cultural differences, Japanese TV stations could not freely use syndicated programs (mostly from Europe and North America) and therefore turned to panel shows, which could be produced cheaply and easily, to fill time during daytime programming.

Japanese panel shows are distinct in generally not employing regular panelists but instead having a panel made up of different freelance comedians and celebrities each program, although the program is generally hosted by the same compere. Talk shows evolved in tandem with the Japanese variety show and it is very common for talk shows to borrow variety elements, typically by having celebrity guests attempt some kind of amusingly incongruous activity. Often, one of the guests will be a gaijin tarento (foreign talent) in order to provide comedy or to comment on matters related to Western culture. However, the comedic elements are usually written for the guests and hosts.

Taiwan is also known for their talk shows, like Japan, where they carry variety show elements and feature a handful of celebrities for each show. Many Taiwanese talk shows rely on comedic bantering, musical and talent performances, wildly animated on-screen texts and visuals (remniscent of anime), but most of these elements are scripted by writers.

See also


  1. ^ Stelter, Brian (2010-09-30). "Anderson Cooper to Host Daytime Talk Show". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Johnny Carson News - The New York Times". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  3. ^ "MSNBC Cancels the Phil Donahue Talk Show - New York Times". 2003-02-26. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  4. ^ Tannen, Deborah (2009-11-28). "Op-Ed Contributor - Donahue Talked, Oprah Listened". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  5. ^ "Stern Reportedly Rules Out Late-Night TV Talk Show - New York Times". 1994-01-05. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  6. ^ Hinckley, David (1999-11-26). "Joe Franklin: Truth in Packaging". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  7. ^ "Dima performs at The Late Late Show". Eurovision. 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  8. ^ Questions are sometimes raised over whether The Tonight Show on US television, which began broadcasting in 1954, should be described as the longest running. However there is little continuity between the show launched in 1954 and the current format, with the show existing under different guises and names ('Tonight' and 'Tonight! America after Dark' are just two of its names in its early years). The show in its different formats ran as a variety show, then as a news show that was modelled on breakfast show, before adopting the current format and the name The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson took over as permanent presenter in October 1962, some months after The Late Late Show was launched. Having kept the same name and format continuously, The Late Late Show is perceived in the media as more entitled to the term "the longest-running show".
  9. ^ "Edward R. Murrow, Broadcaster And Ex-Chief of U.S.I.A., Dies". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  10. ^ "Donahue, Sally Jessy, Geraldo, Montel, Ricki: Talk Show Hosts—Where Are They Now?". 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 

Further reading

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  • talk-show — [ tɔ(l)kʃo ] n. m. • 1987; mot angl. amér. (1965), de to talk « parler » et show « spectacle » ♦ Anglic. Émission de télévision consistant en une conversation entre un animateur et ses invités. Des talk shows. ● talk show, talk shows nom masculin …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • talk show — talk shows also talk show N COUNT A talk show is a television or radio show in which famous people talk to each other in an informal way and are asked questions about different topics. Syn: chat show …   English dictionary

  • talk show — n a television show in which famous people answer questions about themselves British Equivalent: chat show ▪ a talk show host …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • talk-show — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 7}}[wym. tok szoł] {{/stl 7}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż ndm a. I, D. u {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} program telewizyjny lub radiowy, w którym prowadzi się lekkie, nieformalne rozmowy z zaproszonymi gośćmi, np. politykami, aktorami, muzykami :… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

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  • talk show — talk ,show noun count AMERICAN * a television or radio program in which the HOST talks to famous people in an informal way. British chat show …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • talk show — talk′ show n. rtv a radio or television show in which a host interviews or chats with guests, esp. celebrity guests • Etymology: 1965–70 …   From formal English to slang

  • talk show — ► NOUN ▪ a chat show …   English terms dictionary

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  • talk show — n. Radio TV a program featuring informal conversation, often on a particular topic or range of topics, between a host and, variously, guest celebrities and experts, members of a studio audience, or listeners or viewers telephoning from their… …   English World dictionary

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