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The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s 

Ranker TV
Updated June 14, 2019 905 votes 345 voters 28.7k 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

Number of Seasons: 30

Number of Episodes: 4531

Network: NBC

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

More The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 

#211 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #111 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #1 of 53 The Best Late Night Talk Shows 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

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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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#126 of 247 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #25 of 59 The Best Talk Shows On TV

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

Number of Episodes: 4855

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

Number of Seasons: 21

Number of Episodes: 4017

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

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 264

Network: NBC

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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#71 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows #3 of 49 The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History

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

Premiered: 1952

Number of Seasons: 31

Number of Episodes: 883

Network: USA Network, WPVI-TV, American Broadcasting Company

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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#103 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #52 of 247 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

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

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 187

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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#38 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

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 94

Network: NBC

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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#199 of 482 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #74 of 271 The Best '70s TV Shows #42 of 100 The Best Sketch Comedy TV Shows

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

Premiered: 1954

Network: NBC

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
Morton Downey Jr Show is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Monisa Montoya added Morton Downey Jr Show
13
20/20 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Elizabeth Vargas, David Muir, Barbara Walters

Premiered: 1978

Number of Seasons: 34

Network: ABC News, American Broadcasting Company

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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#137 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #150 of 686 The Greatest Shows of the 1990s, Rankedlisted on The Best Newsmagazine TV Shows & Series

14
Firing Line is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
William F. Buckley, Jr.

Premiered: 1966

Number of Episodes: 1504

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
15
Good Morning America is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer

Premiered: 1975

Number of Seasons: 35

Network: ABC News, American Broadcasting Company

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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#2 of 34 The Best Morning Shows #26 of 59 The Best Talk Shows On TV Favorite Good Morning America Hosts

16
The Des O'Connor Show is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
Meet the Press is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
David Gregory

Premiered: 1947

Number of Seasons: 66

Network: NBC

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
18
Donny & Marie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Marie Osmond, Donny Osmond, Jimmy Osmond

Premiered: 1976

Number of Episodes: 78

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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
19
The Today Show is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Ann Curry, Anita Colby

Premiered: 1952

Number of Seasons: 61

Number of Episodes: 15785

Network: NBC

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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#1 of 34 The Best Morning Shows #34 of 59 The Best Talk Shows On TV The Best Today Show Hosts

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

Number of Episodes: 30731

Network: ESPN, ESPNews

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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#30 of 59 The Best Daytime TV Shows #5 of 34 The Best Morning Shows The Best SportsCenter Anchors of All Time

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

Premiered: 1967

Number of Seasons: 44

Number of Episodes: 2000

Network: Public Broadcasting Service, National Educational Television

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
Face the Nation is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Howard K. Smith, Lesley Stahl, Martin Agronsky

Premiered: 1954

Number of Seasons: 60

Network: CBS

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
23
America 2-Night is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Charlton Heston, Rob Reiner, Gary Coleman

Premiered: 1978

Number of Episodes: 65

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
24
The Late Late Show is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Pat Kenny, Ryan Tubridy, Gay Byrne

Premiered: 1962

Number of Seasons: 48

Network: RTÉ One

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
25
The 700 Club is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the 1970s
Susan Howard Chrane, Lee Webb

Premiered: 1966

Network: GMA Network, ABC Family

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