A talk show (American and Australian English) or chat show (British) is a television or radio program where one person (or group of people) will discuss various topics put forth by a talk show host. 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, Ed Sullivan, Oprah Winfrey, Mosunmola Abudu and others are often considered to have revolutionized talk shows.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (December 2010)
See also: Late-night talk show
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 but popularized by Oprah Winfrey was extremely popular during the last two decades of the 20th century.
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 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.
Ireland's The Late Late Show is the world's longest running talk show; 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 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.
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.