In the 1970s, the talk show became something that happened in the late afternoon, not just late at night and brought forth many previously unspoken issues thanks to Phil Donahue.
Begun in the late 1960s in Dayton, Ohion, The Phil Donahue Show was hosted by Donahue and was the first show to bring all kinds of guests to the television airwaves from celebrities to your next door neighbour, talking about all kinds of issues.
In 1970, The Phil Donahue Show, was syndicated nationally in the United States, and the audience for his unique form of show continued to grow.
The show didn’t just stay on the safe side of discussion – it tackled the current issues in the news, as well as civil rights, prejudice, environment, war, sexual issues and anything and everything that needed to be talked about.
Taped in Chicago, Donahue represented the average American – a middle class white man who would ask the question everyone was thinking.
I vividly remember watching the show while my Mum was busy with her housework – she liked to watch the show, to hear what was being discussed whether it was about families, politics or social issues.
And it wasn’t just one person or a group of people that would be involved – the audience would be able to ask questions too. Donahue hustled around his studio, giving the anyone in the audience an opportunity to share their opinions, comments and querys.
This show still holds the record for the longest running syndicated show on television for 26 years, and 29 years on air in total. Donahue’s ratings were strong, his demeanor popular and if there was a subject to be tackled, whether it was popular or unpopular, mainstream or on the edge, he would find people to talk about it.
Phil Donahue was awarded nine Emmy Awards for The Phil Donahue Show.
Thanks to Donahue, that format is still alive and well on television – and its no wonder we’re always curious about what will get asked and what subject could possibly be discussed despite the availability of information that’s out there.