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

The Jerry Springer Show

The Sally Jesse Raphael


The Jerry Springer Show

Maury Povich

The Phil Donahue Show


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]