Secrets of the Talk Show Era
Find out what these five legends are up to today.
While The Oprah Show has been the top talk show for all of its 25 years on the air, there were a few days when other shows won the ratings battle.
Geraldo says he'll never forget one of the days he beat Oprah. He'd invited a neo-Nazi, an anti-racist skinhead, a black civil rights activist and a Jewish activist on the show. Before long, tensions erupted in a fistfight—both on the stage and in the audience. When someone threw a chair, it broke Geraldo's nose.
Geraldo says he still owns the chair. "Aside from the sensational aspect of it and the commercial clout of it, fighting neo-Nazis is not such a bad thing when you're a Puerto Rican Jew," he says.
With her appeal to younger viewers, Ricki says her show started getting "Oprah numbers" in the second and third seasons. But she says she never would have been able to do it without Oprah's help. "Before I went on the air ... you invited me to sit in your audience to see how you worked, to watch you, to watch your producing team," Ricki says. "You did help me in beating you those years."
"Boy, that is generous to a fault," Oprah jokes. "I'm so happy about that."
"Let me just say for the record we never had a conflict," Ricki says. "The people that were on my show were never on Oprah's first!"
Ricki says she remembers the time she spoke with a preacher whose followers picket funerals of those they consider to be pro-gay. "I'm 24, I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I'm thinking, 'What would Oprah say?' He said to me [that] because I'm friends with gay people and because I support the gay lifestyle, I worship my rectum," Ricki says. "Then I just said to him: 'You may be a reverend, but this is still my show. Get out.' And I threw him off the stage."
Besides the fight that ended with his broken nose, one of Geraldo's other most famous shows was when he had fat removed from his rear end and injected into his forehead. "This is pre-Botox," he says. "Everybody called me 'butthead' for the rest of that season."
Despite his nickname and notoriety, Geraldo says he doesn't actually regret that show. "I don't regret much in life, to tell you the truth," he says. "With four divorces, you can't regret much."
Geraldo: How come you never colored your hair?
Phil: I don't know. It went early.
Oprah: And why the red glasses?
Sally: Well, I couldn't see the teleprompter. So I saw an ad that said, 'We do a Pap smear and give you red glasses.'
Geraldo: One-stop shopping!
Sally: They were going to trade me up [to a better pair]. I said: "You're not going to trade me up. I don't have that kind of money." It's all they had for $19.95.
Phil: I'm afraid to ask you what kind of test they give the men customers.
What happens after the last show? Watch Phil, Sally, Geraldo, Montel and Ricki's advice for Oprah.
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