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Phil Donahue is an American media personality, writer, and is most famous for being the creator and host of his own program called The Phil Donahue Show.
Phillip John "Phil" Donahue was on born December 21, 1935 in Manhattan, New York City. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1957, Phil entered the world of broadcasting.
Ten years after he left college, Phil reached the peak of television hosting when he was given his own platform called The Phil Donahue Show. The show mad history because it created a new format for daytime talk shows. At first, his show used the traditional format of having a host and guest like the Johnny Carson show. His television show Donahue, became the first talk show that had a format that included audience participation and interaction. The show started to be broadcasted on national television in 1996 and would last for almost 30 years. It first started filming in Dayton, Ohio, but in 1996 it would air its last episode in New York City.
His shows would usually be centered on issues that divided liberals and conservatives. Some of the controversial topics included abortion, consumer rights, civil rights and war conflicts. Ralph Nader was Phil’s favorite guest and he appeared often on his programs. They developed a friendship and Phil even campaigned for him when he tried running for president in the year 2000.
His show gained fast praise and popularity because it dealt with social issues that people cared about. It expanded to more than 40 stations by 1974. When production was moved to WGN-TV in Chicago in 1974, his show was a great hit and an influence on future generations. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she praised him for being the first national host to acknowledge female issues and she asked him if he was aware of what he was doing at the time, “I'd like you to think I'm a visionary, but no. The people around me who were making decisions about who we had on the show were women. It was a woman's idea to do a show about male strippers. Before that show, I thought, "Where are we gonna put their microphones?" I was honestly afraid, as you might expect most men would be. “
He said that he would stand in the audience, while guys who probably did six hours in the gym every day came out. The audience would go bonkers. Grandmothers screamed, baby sisters screamed, and mothers screamed. They screamed with nervousness, with delight, with a feeling of naughtiness. He was happy to give women a treat during his talk show.
Donahue was ranked #42 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time in 1996. That same year showed Phil the bitter side of television. Even though he won many Emmy Awards, he decided to quit show because of bad ratings. He wouldn’t come back to television for another six years. In 2002, he hosted a show on MSNBC but only for a brief time.
In 2007, he directed a documentary called Body of War.
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