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The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s 

Ranker TV
Updated June 14, 2019 958 votes 375 voters 31.4k views 26 items

List Rules Vote up the best talk shows that aired in the '70s

Talk shows have been an important part of the television landscape for decades, and these are the best 1970s talk shows, ranked from best to worst. Some of these top 1970s talk shows have become true TV icons that have remained on the air, while others made a big splash in the 70s, but longevity wasn't the cards for them. That doesn't make them any less great. Not every show is meant to be on the air forever. In fact, some of the greatest shows last only a few seasons. So, what is the best 70s talk show?

While casting your votes, what series can you expect to find on this best 1970s talk shows list? Morning television was revolutionized when Good Morning America debuted in 1975. Over the past 40+ years, the show has welcomed such notable guests as Barack Obama, Will Smith, Peyton Manning, and many more. The Dean Martin Show is another good talk show that aired in the '70s.

Throughout the decade, Dick Cavett chatted with many of the top entertainers of the day including Carol Burnett, Marlon Brando, and Katharine Hepburn. And just for posterity, some of the other great series that appear on this list include The Flip Willson Show, 20/20, and SportsCenter.

Which 1970s talk show is the best? Vote up your favorites and see if other TV fans agree with you!
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list ordered by
1
The Tonight Show Starrin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Skitch Henderson

Premiered: 1962

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under The Tonight Show franchise from October 1, 1962 through May 22, 1992. It originally aired during late-night. ...more

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#112 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #208 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #7 of 160 Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time

2
The Dick Cavett Show is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Leigh French

Premiered: 1968

The Dick Cavett Show was the title of several talk shows hosted by Dick Cavett on various television networks, including: ABC daytime originally titled This Morning ABC prime time, Tuesdays, ...more

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#17 of 48 The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time #152 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #35 of 49 The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History

3
Tom Snyder is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Monisa Montoya added Tom Snyder

Premiered: 1993

4
The Merv Griffin Show is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
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Premiered: 1962

The Merv Griffin Show was an American television talk show, starring Merv Griffin. The series ran from October 1, 1962 to March 29, 1963 on NBC, May 1965 to August 15, 1969 in first-run ...more
5
The Mike Douglas Show is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
The Mike Douglas Show Shirley Temple, Mike Douglas

Premiered: 1961

The Mike Douglas Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that aired only in the Cleveland, Ohio area during much of its first two years on the air. It went into ...more
6
The Dean Martin Show is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Dean Martin, Sandahl Bergman, Dom DeLuise

Premiered: 1965

The Dean Martin Show, also known as The Dean Martin Variety Show, is a TV variety-comedy series that ran from 1965 to 1974 for 264 episodes. It was broadcast by NBC and hosted by entertainer ...more

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#161 of 445 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #61 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows #53 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

7
American Bandstand is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Dick Clark

Premiered: 1952

American Bandstand is an American music-performance show that aired in various versions from 1952 to 1989 and was hosted from 1956 until its final season by Dick Clark, who also served as ...more

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#195 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #17 of 41 The Best Dance TV Shows #10 of 29 The Best "American" TV Shows

8
The Jackie Gleason Show ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Tina Louise, Bettie Page, Jackie Gleason

Premiered: 1952

The Jackie Gleason Show is the name of a series of popular American network television shows that starred Jackie Gleason, which ran from 1952 to 1970, in various forms.

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#62 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #30 of 70 The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s #2 of 16 The Most Popular TV Shows Of The 1950s

9
The Flip Wilson Show is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Flip Wilson, Tim Conway, George Carlin

Premiered: 1970

The Flip Wilson Show is an hour-long variety show that aired in the U.S. on NBC from September 17, 1970 to June 27, 1974. The show starred American comedian Flip Wilson; the program was one of ...more

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#188 of 445 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #137 of 139 The Funniest Shows To Watch When You're Stoned #72 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

10
Tonight Starring Steve A... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s

Premiered: 1954

Tonight Starring Steve Allen is a talk show hosted by Steve Allen. It was the first version of what eventually became known as The Tonight Show. Tonight was the first late-night talk show, as ...more
11
The Phil Donahue Show is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Phil Donahue, Sammy Davis Jr., Dolly Parton

Premiered: 1967

The Phil Donahue Show, also known as Donahue, is an American television talk show hosted by Phil Donahue that ran for 26 years on national television. Its run was preceded by three years of ...more
12
20/20 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Elizabeth Vargas, David Muir, Barbara Walters

Premiered: 1978

20/20 is an American television newsmagazine that has been broadcast on ABC since June 6, 1978. Created by ABC News executive Roone Arledge, the show was designed similarly to CBS's 60 Minutes ...more

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#128 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #146 of 356 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Rankedlisted on The Best Newsmagazine TV Shows & Series

13
Morton Downey Jr Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Monisa Montoya added Morton Downey Jr Show
14
Good Morning America is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer

Premiered: 1975

Good Morning America (ABC, 1975) is an American morning television show currently presented by Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer, Michael Strahan, Amy Robach, and Ginger Zee. ...more

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15
Firing Line is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
William F. Buckley, Jr.

Premiered: 1966

Firing Line was an American public affairs show founded and hosted by conservative William F. Buckley, Jr., founder and publisher of National Review magazine. Its 1,504 episodes over 33 years ...more
16
Meet the Press is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
David Gregory

Premiered: 1947

Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program that is broadcast on NBC. It is the longest-running program in American television history, though its current format bears ...more
17
The Today Show is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Ann Curry, Anita Colby

Premiered: 1952

Today is an American news and talk morning television show that airs on NBC. The program debuted on January 14, 1952. It was the first of its genre on American television and in the world, and ...more

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The Best Today Show Hosts #8 of 55 The Best Daytime TV Shows #1 of 34 The Best Morning Shows

18
The Des O'Connor Show is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
The Des O'Connor Show Jack Benny, Des O'Connor, Jack Douglas

Premiered: 1963

The Des O'Connor Show is a British variety and chat show hosted by Des O'Connor. ITV broadcast the programme from 1963 until 1973. Associated Television produced the programme, and which was ...more
19
Donny & Marie is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Marie Osmond, Donny Osmond, Jimmy Osmond

Premiered: 1976

Donny & Marie is an American variety show which aired on ABC from January 1976 to January 1979. The show stars brother and sister pop duo Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond. Donny had first ...more

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#70 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows #31 of 49 The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History

20
SportsCenter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Neil Everett, Jalen Rose, Jenn Brown

Premiered: 1979

SportsCenter is a daily sports news television program and the flagship program of American cable and satellite television network ESPN since the network's launch on September 7, 1979. ...more

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21
Washington Week is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s

Premiered: 1967

Washington Week—previously Washington Week in Review—is an American public affairs television program airing on PBS since 1967. Unlike other panel discussion shows which encourage informal ...more
22
The 700 Club is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Susan Howard Chrane, Lee Webb

Premiered: 1966

The 700 Club is the flagship television program of the Christian Broadcasting Network, airing in syndication throughout the United States and available worldwide on CBN.com. Airing each weekday, ...more
23
Face the Nation is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Howard K. Smith, Lesley Stahl, Martin Agronsky

Premiered: 1954

Face the Nation is an American Sunday morning political interview show that is broadcast on the CBS television network. Created by Frank Stanton in 1954, it is one of the longest-running news ...more
24
America 2-Night is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Charlton Heston, Rob Reiner, Gary Coleman

Premiered: 1978

America 2Night is a talk show parody that ran in syndication in 1978. Produced by Norman Lear, it is actually the second season of "Fernwood 2Night". The locale has been moved to ...more
25
The Late Late Show is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Pat Kenny, Ryan Tubridy, Gay Byrne

Premiered: 1962

The Late Late Show, with its title often shortened to The Late Late, is the world's longest-running talk show. Perceived as the official flagship television programme of Ireland's public service ...more