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The Best Talk Shows of the '80s 

Ranker TV
Updated October 4, 2019 985 votes 206 voters 15.6k views 24 items

List Rules Vote up the best talk shows that aired in the '80s

These are the very best 1980s talk shows, ranked from best to worst by TV fans all over the world. From top 1980s talk shows that revolutionized late-night television, to shows that found daytime audiences, and even primetime audiences. No matter what time slot they occupied, the greatest 80s talk shows delivered information that the public was hungry for.

What are some shows one can expect to find on this 1980s talk shows list? In 1982, Late Night with David Letterman debuted on NBC, with his first guest being Bill Murray. The Caddyshack star sat down with Letterman many times over the years and even appeared on his final episode of The Late Show, which aired on CBS, in 2015. The Oprah Winfrey Show is another popular talk show that premiered in the decade.

Metalheads got a chance to see interviews with their favorite musicians on MTV's '80s talk show, Headbangers Ball. Other great series that are featured on this top 1980s talk shows list include Nightline, The 700 Club, and Good Morning America.

So, Which '80s talk show is the best? Be sure to vote up your favorites and get in on the conversation in the comments section!
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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 '80s
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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#195 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #112 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #7 of 158 Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time

2
Late Night with David Le... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
David Letterman, Paul Shaffer, Jerry Seinfeld

Premiered: 1982

Late Night with David Letterman is a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC that was created and hosted by David Letterman. It premiered in 1982 as the first incarnation of the Late Night ...more

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#202 of 388 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #126 of 461 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #170 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

3
American Bandstand is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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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#190 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #15 of 41 The Best Dance TV Shows #10 of 29 The Best "American" TV Shows

4
The Oprah Winfrey Show ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Oprah Winfrey, Nate Berkus, Gayle King

Premiered: 1986

The Oprah Winfrey Show, often referred to simply as Oprah, is an American syndicated talk show that aired nationally for 25 seasons from 1986 to 2011. Produced and hosted by its namesake, Oprah ...more

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#57 of 164 TV Shows Most Loved by African-Americans #312 of 510 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked #15 of 69 The Greatest Talk Shows of All Time

5
20/20 is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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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#127 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #126 of 272 The Best '70s TV Showslisted on The Best Newsmagazine TV Shows & Series

6
The Phil Donahue Show is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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
7
The Merv Griffin Show is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
nm0871546

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
8
The Arsenio Hall Show is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Bill Murray, Arsenio Hall, Burton Richardson

Premiered: 1989

The Arsenio Hall Show is an American late-night talk show created and hosted by Arsenio Hall. There are two separate programs that have been titled The Arsenio Hall Show, both airing in ...more

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#19 of 57 The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time #161 of 187 The Greatest Shows of the 1990s, Ranked #103 of 510 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked

9
Entertainment Tonight is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Katy Perry, Olivia Wilde, Paris Hilton

Premiered: 1981

Entertainment Tonight, is a daily tabloid entertainment television news show that is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution throughout the United States, in Canada on Global, and in many ...more

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#219 of 510 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked #4 of 25 The Best Tabloid News Shows

10
Good Morning America is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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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Favorite Good Morning America Hosts #14 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #2 of 34 The Best Morning Shows

11
Nightline is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Martin Bashir, Ted Koppel, Charles Gibson

Premiered: 1980

Nightline is a late-night news program that is broadcast by ABC in the United States, and has a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. Created by Roone ...more
12
Live! with Kelly and Mic... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Kathie Lee Gifford, Anne Abernathy

Premiered: 1983

Live with Kelly and Michael is an American syndicated morning talk show, hosted by Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. Executive-produced by Michael Gelman, the show has aired since 1983 locally on ...more

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#15 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #8 of 34 The Best Morning Shows #51 of 69 The Greatest Talk Shows of All Time

13
The Mike Douglas Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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
14
The Today Show is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #1 of 34 The Best Morning Shows

15
SportsCenter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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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The Best SportsCenter Anchors of All Time #46 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #5 of 25 You May Be a Basic Bro If You Love These TV Shows

16
Larry King Live is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Larry King, Ryan Seacrest, Bill Maher

Premiered: 1985

Larry King Live is an American talk show that was hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly. ...more
17
Face the Nation is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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
18
Meet the Press is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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
19
Headbangers Ball is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Adam Curry

Premiered: 1987

Headbangers Ball was a music television program consisting of heavy metal music videos airing on MTV, MTV2, MTV Australia, MTV Rocks, MTV Adria, MTV Brand New, MTV Portugal, MTV Finland, MTV ...more
20
Geraldo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Geraldo Rivera

Premiered: 1987

Geraldo is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Geraldo Rivera that aired in syndication from September 7, 1987, to June 12, 1998, with the last two seasons airing under the title ...more
21
This Week is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
David Brinkley, Sam Donaldson

Premiered: 1981

This Week is an American Sunday morning political affairs program airing on the ABC television network. The program is currently hosted by George Stephanopoulos, who also serves as Chief Anchor ...more
22
The 700 Club is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
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
The Wilton North Report ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
The Wilton North Report

Premiered: 1987

The Wilton North Report is a late-night combined newsmagazine, talk show, and variety show that aired on Fox in December 1987 and January 1988. It was Fox's second attempt at a regular ...more
24
Question Time is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Talk Shows of the '80s
Carol Vorderman, Jeremy Clarkson

Premiered: 1979

Question Time is a topical debate BBC television programme in the United Kingdom, based on Any Questions? The show typically features politicians from at least the three major political parties ...more