10 People Who Inexplicably Had Their Own Talk Shows
It seems the criteria for getting your own talk show these days both starts and stops at being able to string a couple of sentences together. At least, that’s what browsing this list of the most bizarre people to be given their own daytime or late night series will lead you to believe. Of course, being yesterday’s news in terms of why you were ever considered famous in the first place helps in most cases. At any rate, we hope these people (in all cases but our finale entry) made deals with the devil himself to attain their own shows, because otherwise we have no other explanation for what you are about to read.
George Lopez, “Lopez Tonight”
November 9, 2009 – August 12, 2011
If you like to be entertained, then you probably weren’t one of the people tuning in to “Lopez Tonight” on TBS. However, some of you are filthy rotten liars because the series did well enough to last for two whole seasons! But we digress. Once “Conan” became a part of TBS’ late night lineup, people got a taste of what funny actually was and with the series now being pushed back to midnight, ratings plummeted. “Lopez Tonight” was no more, and George Lopez was free to call Conan a bitch even though he was the one who persuaded him to come to the network in the first place. To LT’s credit, it did outlast a number of other inexplicable talk shows that also launched in 2009, including “The Mo’Nique Show” and “The Wanda Sykes Show.” So it had that going for it.
Caroline Rhea, “The Caroline Rhea Show”
September 2, 2002 – May 21, 2003
Remember Caroline Rhea? She was one of the two aunts on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and…um…we’re pretty sure she was on “Hollywood Squares” a lot around that same time. Well anyways, she was personally chosen as the successor to Rosie O’Donnell’s “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” which ran from 1996 to 2002. Rhea, on the other hand, made it all the way to 2003 before she was widely replaced in most television markets by either “The Wayne Brady Show” or the much more popular “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Hence, Rhea’s short-lived series joined the ranks of other failed talk shows starring pseudo celebrities such as “The Tempestt Bledsoe Show,” “Gabrielle” (aka “The Gabrielle Carteris Show”) and “The Fran Drescher Tawk Show.” Try not to imagine a world where those all existed at once.
Alan Thicke, “Thicke of the Night”
September 5, 1983 – June 15, 1984
Speaking of pseudo celebs, it doesn’t get much worse than a late night television show hosted by Alan Thicke. This is pre-“Growing Pains” Alan Thicke we are talking about, too, so he wasn’t even to a point where he was ironically funny yet. Having been the host of his own hit daytime talk show in his native Canada prior to his late night debut, he was snatched up by U.S. producers hoping to duplicate that success stateside. The attempt failed, as there is simply nothing worse than the sound of his voice to American ears. On the plus side, his sidekick was none other than Arsenio Hall, who actually went on to great success as a late night host. But seriously, Canada, if it ain’t “Trailer Park Boys,” stay out of our yard.
Chevy Chase, “The Chevy Chase Show”
September 7, 1993 – October 1, 1993
Chevy Chase is one of the funniest comedic actors of our time…or at least he was back in the late 1970s and ’80s. By 1993, though, he was well on his way to washed up, and the debut of “The Chevy Chase Show” wasn’t helping matters. Both baffling and by most accounts considered a total disaster, the show ran for only five weeks before FOX put it out of its misery. In its defense, it did air both a week after the debut of “Late Show with David Letterman” and a week before “Late Night with Conan O’Brien, perfectly sandwiching it between two superior shows. The lesson here seems to be simply not to host a television show if you still have a viable acting career ahead (or at the very least not too far behind you). The same could be said for more recent failures like “The Megan Mullally Show,” which the actress picked up hot off the heals of her “Will & Grace” success. It lasted a season before it was canned.
Tony Danza, “The Tony Danza Show”
September 13, 2004 – September 15, 2006
When a show is so bad that it’s constantly mocked by the likes of “The Soup” and “Opie & Anthony,” that either means it’s so bad that it’s good or so bad that it’s just really bad. Which do you think was the case with “The Tony Danza Show”? Assuming it isn’t a bunch of 70-year-old women reading this post, we can say with resounding confidence that it was the latter. Are you starting the get the point with these last few entries? Just because someone was a famous actor at a point in time, they aren’t automatically great talk show hosts. And if it’s Danza nostalgia that drives you, all four seasons of “Who’s the Boss?” on YouTube would be time better spent. As for us, we’ll stick with “Shmloo’s the Shmloss?,” thanks.
Stephanie Miller, “The Stephanie Miller Show”
Suffering a similar fate as the previously mentioned “The Chevy Chase Show,” “The Stephanie Miller Show” (not to be confused with her current talk radio program by the same name) was pitted against both Jay Leno and David Letterman when it debuted in the fall of 1995, resulting in a swift cancellation within 13 weeks. Fighting an uphill battle from the jump considering no one had any clue who Stephanie Miller was (not to mention the show is so obscure that we couldn’t even find the exact dates it aired), the young comedienne’s terrible promos for her short-lived talk show certainly weren’t helping matters one bit. And if you think that was bad, check out what the actual show was like. So the audience would get ripped on by some nobody for wanting to ask the “celebrity” guests questions? Sounds fun. It’s a wonder it didn’t last.
Ross Mathews, “Hello Ross!”
September 6, 2013 – May 16, 2014
We’ll give him this: you know right away whether or not this show is going to appeal to you on sight. However, just who in the hell is Ross Mathews? That’s a question you’re likely asking yourself unless you are a huge “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” or “Chelsea Lately” fan. That’s right, the former late-night intern turned correspondent wound up with his own interactive talk show on (you guessed it!) E! in 2013. You may have then also come to the conclusion that it was pulled within a year. Interestingly enough, this actually wasn’t due to poor performance, but because Chelsea Handler, who helped Mathews get the gig, had a falling out with E! and took him with her. But we suppose that’s a pitfall of friends in high places. Just ask minor celebrities Greg Behrendt or Ali Wentworth, friends of Oprah who wound up with their own short-lived and equally inexplicable talk shows, as well.
Steve Wilkos, “The Steve Wilkos Show”
September 10, 2007 – present
Because, sure, Jerry Springer’s bouncer needed his own TV show. Worse yet, it celebrated its 1000th episode (yes, those are three zeroes) back in 2013 and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. So what’s the secret its unprecedented success? Well, it’s essentially a dumbed down version of “The Jerry Springer Show” for starters. And instead of your host making snarky comments at inbred hillbillies, he gets in their faces, screams at them and threatens to beat them up if they disagree with his sound logic. He’s not a doctor or anything like that, but what do you care? It’s on TV.
Magic Johnson, “The Magic Hour”
June 8, 1998 – September 4, 1998
Can we please give Charles Barkley his own talk show while we’re just tossing them out to former athletes like candy? At least his would be entertaining whether he was aware of it or not. On the flip side of that, we have “The Magic Hour,” a late-night series so bland that it took a Howard Stern appearance for literally anything memorable to come from it. Basically, if you are asking anything of a former athlete hosting a talk show other than occasional talking, you are asking too much. Just ask John McEnroe, whose own 2004 CNBC series “McEnroe” was so painfully bad, it somehow made “The Magic Hour” look like “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” by comparison. Unfortunately, the two weren’t on at the same time, and the magic was lost on us all.
ALF, “ALF’s Hit Talk Show”
July 7th, 2004 – December 17, 2004
We can’t imagine there is anything more degrading for an actor than to be interviewed by a puppet with a human hand shoved up its ass, but at least “ALF’s Hit Talk Show” was the best case scenario of such a situation. The fact that is was actually pretty funny and true to the comedy of the ’80s sitcom it spun off from made it pretty enjoyable from the start, but it also lacked one major element: a purpose. Ultimately, it was any other talk show, but starring ALF. Furthermore, since it was on TV Land, the guest stars were lacking in relevance for the most part (with the occasional pre-“Breaking Bad” Bryan Cranston). Alas, due to the utter strangeness of the entire thing coupled with ALF’s popularity having diminished significantly by the time the show came to be, it only lasted a few months. Then again, now that it’s been even longer since the original series was off the air, it looks like it’s time for a round 3.