Think of classic American TV, and alongside the westerns, sitcoms, and cop dramas, you may picture the relatively humble-looking talk show, in which hosts invite guests — usually famous, often funny and entertaining — to simply converse for the sake of the viewer’s entertainment. But these benign personalities are sometimes very much an act for their audiences, and on occasion, their flaws are exposed for all to see — warts and all.
The legendary Johnny Carson, host of “The Tonight Show” from 1962 to 1992, is often considered the architect of the classic talk show format. Since then, talk shows have become ubiquitous, with even news shows having taken on the talk show format, to feature news anchors, expert pundits, and other guests mingling at a studio desk to discuss the latest current events, opinions, and forecasts. But in the age of streaming, rolling news, and the immediacy and ease of social media platforms, traditional TV talk shows are on the wane. And, with the media landscape changing, many stars are moving on to greener pastures, which may be just as well, as the age of the all-powerful talk show host has truly ended.
In recent years, hosts that may have assumed that they had made it to the point in their careers, where they would be revered like Carson, are facing intense scrutiny in terms of their behavior on and off camera, with some seeing their careers go up in smoke as a result. Here are some of those whose reputations have recently taken a nosedive, thanks to their own terrible behavior.