'90s Talk Show Hosts: Then and Now

Before “reality” TV was king, we had good old chair-throwing, baby daddy-finding out, wrasslin' with your mama daytime talk shows. Ah, those were the days. When you could smell the dirty laundry for miles as talk show hosts donned turtlenecks or red glasses and dumped fresh drama at our doorsteps every day, five, sometimes six days a week. You knew them well, your favorite 1990s daytime talk show hosts, but where are they today?

Geraldo got his nose broken, Jerry had to hire some bouncers, Maury helped people figure out where to send Father’s Day cards, and Montel helped people pick up the pieces. Jenny made you over. Whoopi channeled her inner Barbara Walters. And Oprah managed to emerge unscathed from this shifty era as Queen of All Things. You get a mansion! And YOU get a mansion! But what became of the kinds and queens of '90s daytime talk?

Some of these television hosts have gone on to great things, while others have preferred to stay out of the limelight. Take a look at these '90s TV stars in their daytime heydays, and see what they're up to now!

  • If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, Jerry Springer is easily the King of Daytime Trash TV. First airing in 1991, The Jerry Springer Show started out as a regular ol' daytime talk show that focused on social issues and politics. When a new producer was hired in 1994 to draw a younger audience, things got weird and wonderful, depending upon who you ask. Topics were sexually charged and usually involved a lot of wrong relationships like first cousins and twin stealers. Springer became a god of sorts, snapping up 6.7 million faster than you can charge Springer's bouncer, Steve Wilkos.
  • Jerry Springer (Now)

    Jerry Springer (Now)
    Photo: Nrbelex / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5
    As of 2015, Jerry Springer was still on TV. Sister-mothers were still fighting with brother-husbands. After 25 seasons, people still couldn’t get enough of Redneck Gladiator. Despite floating on a river of guests’ tears for over two decades, Jerry aged fairly well. The former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati and news anchor has also hosted America’s Got Talent, because if anyone knows about talent, it’s Jerry Springer. Bouncer Steve Wilkos also got his own show.
  • Sally Jessy Raphael (Then)
    Photo: TwinsofSedona / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

    Out of the daytime pack, Sally and her red glasses made for one of the more dignified shows, relatively speaking. The Sally Jesse Raphael Show had a nice long run from 1982 to 2002. Raphael simultaneously hosted her own radio show and had nearly 18 hours of TV and radio time per week, making her the only woman to do so at the time.

    Fun fact: The red glasses were a fluke. For the show's debut, Raphael needed glasses to read questions and ran next door to the studio to a pharmacy. She could only find red ones that did the trick. The producers didn't like them but audiences loved them, so the red glasses stayed. 
  • Sally Jessy Raphael (Now)

    Sally Jessy Raphael (Now)
    Photo: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
    Post daytime talk, Raphael continued to work in radio and hosted a celebrity interview show on LogoTV.com. She also had a show called Sally Jessy Rides on NewNowNext.com.
  • Montel Williams (Then)

    Montel Williams (Then)
    Photo: The Montel Williams Show / Viacom

    Williams was the first Black man to have a daytime talk show. The Montel Williams Show focused on helping people not just for show content but also had a follow up program in place. The show had a full-time psychologist and helped guests with aftercare. in 1996, Williams won an Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Frequent guest psychic Sylvia Browne brought criticism to Williams’s door when she became involved in several high-profile kidnapping cases.

  • Montel Williams (Now)
    Photo: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. He launched The Montel Williams MS Foundation and has been a spokesman for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. He has worked in both radio (Montel Across America) and in TV as an informercial host for Living Well Healthmaster.