1 9 8 7 – 1 9 9 8 (USA)
65 x 60 minute episodes
Geraldo Rivera was the first American daytime talk show host to emphasise sleazy subjects as his main selling point, pioneering a form of trash TV that became extremely popular in the 1990s.
An ABC News reporter since the early 1970s, Rivera created the show after leaving the nighttime newsmagazine 20/20 in December 1985 when ABC News President Roone Arledge killed his piece on Marilyn Monroe‘s death and her relationship with the Kennedys.
Free of network control, his tendencies toward overstatement and exploitation flowered fully when he went into daytime television, and his bombastic techniques became fodder for comic routines and a regular target for critics.
The most outrageous early incident was a wild chair-throwing fight on a November 1988 show on white supremacists, which landed him and his broken nose on the cover of Newsweek.
Geraldo kept the tawdriness going by disrobing for a show taped at a nudist camp on 2 February 1989, followed less than a year later by a visit to a topless doughnut shop in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Rivera toned down his format following negative reactions to these shows, but he could not keep himself in check for long.
Indeed, when OJ Simpson was under suspicion for the murders of his wife and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994, Rivera’s shows let everyone know he considered the football player guilty, even before the trial began, and he constantly hammered away at this theme during and after the trial.
In 1995, a show about domestic violence also wound up getting physical and Rivera’s nose was broken once again.
By 1996 Rivera had a nightly show on the cable channel CNBC and announced he planned to end his talk show before the start of the 21st century to concentrate on other ventures. He also retitled his daily show The Geraldo Rivera Show and presented it from a redesigned, spacious set.