Outrageous Moments from ’80s and ’90s Daytime Talk Shows

  • The Jerry Springer Show

  • The Sally Jesse Raphael

  • Geraldo

  • The Jerry Springer Show

  • Maury Povich

  • The Phil Donahue Show

  • Ricki

  • The Morton Downey, Jr. Show

  • The Montel Williams Show

  • The Jenny Jones Show

In the ’80s, soap operas ruled the airways. But a shift occurred late in the decade — when everyone started noticing that talk shows hosted by Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera were becoming more and more deliciously controversial (anything to drag eyeballs away from the marital affairs and amnesia plotlines of soaps). With sensational story topics like midget-tossing, paternity suits, neo-Nazi nonsense, brawling transvestites, and grisly murders, several talk shows followed their lead. Enter “Trash TV,” which featured the likes of Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake, Maury Povich, and Jerry Springer.

Each series tried to be more outlandish than the next; but we believe Maury, with his baby-daddy DNA test reveals (and morbidly obese children, natch), wins the battle. From a dude marrying his horse on The Jerry Springer Show to Geraldo getting his nose busted on-air, check out the most amazing moments from ’90s talk shows.

[Photos: NBC, CBS, ABC]