Ricki Lake (1993 talk show)

Ricki Lake is an American first-run syndicated talk show hosted by television presenter Ricki Lake. Taped in New York City, the show ran for eleven seasons from September 13, 1993, to May 21, 2004.[1][2][3][4]

Ricki Lake
Ricki Lake promo photo, 2001
Created by
Presented byRicki Lake
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons11
No. of episodes2,420
Running time45 to 60 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkFirst-run syndication
ReleaseSeptember 13, 1993 (1993-09-13) –
May 21, 2004 (2004-05-21)
The Ricki Lake Show

Series background edit

The show specialized in sensationalist topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience. But unlike most of the counterparts of the day, her primary audience was aimed at teenagers, young adults, college students, and urban viewers (who described themselves as "Generation X") rather than the 25+ audience that advertisers were catering to, plus it was less sensational and tamer compared to the other programs. It was taped at the Chelsea Studios in New York City.[5][6] During an interview on A Spoonful of Paolo, Lake stated that she almost signed up to do the show for only $5,000.[7]

Topicality edit

During the series' run, its primary focus was on dealing with personal subjects like parenting skills (including single mothers who are accused of having the lack of experience of taking care of children), romantic relationships (both marital and non-marital), LGBT issues (like discrimination, same-sex couples who want to have children or straight people attracted to a person who is LGBT or the other way around), racism and prejudice (even within their own race and gender), interracial relationships, family discord, revealing secrets, and social topics of the day (like money, looking for work or being on welfare).[8] At times she had lighter shows, ranging from contests (including female impersonators, beauticians, or those who want to prove to others that they do have talent), celebrity guests, and reunions, to granting viewers' personal wishes.[9]

A majority of the shows had surprises waiting in store for the guests, which were revealed by a doorbell ringing if a guest didn't come clean about themselves. This prompted Ricki to bring out another guest who knew the truth about the primary guest's intentions. At times, the guests would find out that someone else had been listening to their confession while they were on stage or in the audience. On one show in 1997 for example, a guy who admitted to having an affair was unaware that his wife was on stage. The doorbell (and other surprises) were a major part of the series throughout its run. Lake's talk show sometimes covered serious topics, including domestic violence ("Bad Men, Desperate Woman"), homeless people who live in the NYC subway system ("The Catacomb People") and "Teens on Death Row". Lake also took on shows that dealt with women who were members of the Ku Klux Klan, and during a show involving marijuana, she learned that three guests were using the substance just moments before they walked on to the set to be interviewed by her.

One of Lake's most memorable and controversial confrontations happened during the first season, when she found herself dealing with Reverend Fred Phelps in a show that involved targeting anyone who carries the AIDS virus and why they deserve to die. (Phelps and his followers from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas had been picketing at funerals for AIDS victims across the United States, leading to several states to enact laws prohibiting or restricting groups from coming within a certain distance of the funerals.) When Phelps and his son-in-law tried to take over the set, a furious and insulted Lake ordered the Phelps family to leave the studio. During the commercial break, the two were forced off the set by the producers and escorted out of the building by security.[10] After Phelps died on March 19, 2014, Lake tweeted on her Twitter page that when he was on the show he told her that she worshipped her rectum on camera, which led to Lake taking action off-stage to force Phelps off the show after that remark.[11] The series also experienced controversy after an episode titled "I'm Angry Because People Think I'm Gay" was taped, in which the audience became "increasingly hostile" and made many "inappropriate remarks."[12] The media monitoring organization GLAAD attempted to prevent the episode from airing.[12]

Methodology edit

Ricki Lake, 2007.

The methodology for securing guests on the show, common to many shows similar to it, was as such: Producers would brainstorm and come up with a show title or theme. During an aired episode of the program spots would run for shows in pre-production. The goal was to recruit persons who may have a situation in their life that fits with the proposed topic. Hotline messages would be screened and the most promising prospects would be contacted by a production assistant. The potential guest would be interviewed about their situation. Guests chosen to appear on the show were booked airfare to New York City, brought to the television studio and sent to specific "green rooms", inside which they were briefed in more detail on how the show would be taped. One of the producers then sat down with each guest to reiterate the story, including emphasis on various phrases or statements the guest might have made during pre-interviews. Guests were given an appearance and confidentiality contract to sign and installments were recorded in real-time, which took approximately 80 minutes to complete. Lake came into the audience for taped segments and, during the paused portion (where commercial breaks were inserted), she left the audience to consult with producers. The final show was aired approximately one month later. However, if the guest (or guests) lied to the producers prior to coming on air, they were forced off the set and their travel arrangements cancelled. This happened twice during the show's run, and both events aired.[13][14]

Awards and nominations edit

In 1994, the show was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, but The Oprah Winfrey Show won the award. Other awards the show has garnered includes the Gracie Allen Award, PRISM Certificates & Commendations, and many more.[15]

Awards and nominations edit

Awards and nominations
Award Year Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Daytime Emmy Awards 1994 Outstanding Daytime Talk Series Ricki Lake Nominated [16]
Excellence in Media's Silver Angel Award 2001 National Television "Teen Pregnancy PSA Campaign" Won

Aftermath edit

In 2000, Ricki Lake told her audience on The Rosie O'Donnell Show that her contract was up for renewal in 2004. In September 2003, rumors began swirling about the show's demise as Lake was in serious talks to be cast in a 30-minute sitcom for CBS.[17] On January 21, 2004, The Futon Critic reported that "the show's future remains up in the air" due to the sitcom,[18] and because Lake herself was not in attendance at the convention. In February 2004, the show was officially cancelled. Witnessing 9/11 from the rooftop of her New York City apartment, Lake has stated in several interviews that at that point she knew "I am getting out of my marriage, I am getting out of this show". On June 27, 2019, Ricki told Rupaul that two days after the attacks, she had to go back and do topics that, although still loving her show, didn't reflect what she wanted her legacy to be.[19] Surprisingly, Sony Pictures didn't provide any comments when the show was cancelled, despite a large profit the show brought.

On October 9, 2005, Broadcasting & Cable magazine reported that Lake might return to do a new version of her show. A source said it would be a surprise if there was no deal struck by October 2005.[20] If it were to have happened, it would have likely debuted in September 2006. Lake did not appear at the 2006 NATPE convention to pitch the proposed program to television stations in the United States in January, 2006, only furthering speculation that there would be no show. In a 2009 interview on CNN, she was asked about what was next for her. Lake noted that a follow-up documentary was coming out, and that she was in talks to do another talk show,[21] but this has yet to come to pass. In follow-up interviews since then such as Oprah in 2010, Lake has consistently said "never say never" about hosting a new show, but that she is happy working on other projects. However, in a February 2011 appearance on The View, when asked about doing another show, Ricki said that she "misses the platform" and that when it comes to hosting another show, "that's certainly a possibility."

In March 2011 it was reported that three television studios, Disney–ABC Domestic Television, Universal Media Studios and CBS Television Distribution, were interested in bringing Lake back to talk television in 2012. This after Lake began appearing on various programs in which she expressed a desire to return to the genre.[22] On April 20, 2011, Lake signed with 20th Television to develop a subsequent talk show for a September 2012 launch. It is described as having more of an Oprah-like format than her previous series.[23]

Popularity around the world edit

The show was also popular in other countries, especially in the United Kingdom, where it aired on Channel 4, and was aired daily on ITV2, until 2009, as well as in Australia, where the show was screened on three channels: the Seven (1997–2002), Ten (1994–1997) and pay TV-exclusive W Channel (2002–2004). The show was also successful in the Netherlands, where it aired on SBS6. Even though it has been out of production since 2004, the show is still screened in various places around the world such as Nigeria and in the Middle East.

Production/distribution edit

Garth Ancier and Gail Steinberg were the original executive producers. Michael Rourke moved into the executive producer role in 2002, during the 9th season, with Michelle Mazur, a former producer in the 1990s of the show, moved into the role of co-executive producer at the start of the 10th season. The theme was written by John Benitez. The show was produced by The Garth Ancier Company and was distributed by Columbia Pictures Television Distribution (1993–1995), then by Columbia TriStar Television Distribution (1995–2001), Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001–2002), and Sony Pictures Television (2002–2004). In the UK the series first appeared on Saturday October 1, 1994, on Channel 4 and continued until 2001.

References edit

  1. ^ "Shopping In Syndication Hell". Newsweek. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  2. ^ "Ricki Lake: bigger than Oprah? The 26-year-old talk-show prodigy talks to Hester Lacey". Independent. London. March 5, 1995. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  3. ^ Winslow, Harriet (January 18, 1994). "They Get Passing Grades at Talk-Show U". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  4. ^ Shattuc, Jane M. (April 4, 2014). The Talking Cure: TV Talk Shows and Women. Routledge. ISBN 9781136656798 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "TALKING TRASH". Time. January 30, 1995. Archived from the original on May 2, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  6. ^ "Gen-X Cinderella has the knack". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  7. ^ "Ricki Lake Almost Did Her Original Talk Show for $5,000". yahoo.com. May 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "Local psychologist gets to ply trade in 'Ricki Lake' TV episode on teens". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  9. ^ "The low road to talk TV". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  10. ^ "Respect earns Ricki Lake success on TV" from Baltimore Sun (December 6, 1993)
  11. ^ Twitter message from Lake (March 20, 2014)
  12. ^ a b Gerosa, Melina (April 8, 1994). "Ricki Lake criticized for gay attack". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 24, 2022. Retrieved July 24, 2023.
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFbgp-hdjtU ("I'll Dump My Honey For A Guy With Money!"; 2000)
  14. ^ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qeboiwQFFfs&feature=youtu.be ("Summer Secrets!"; 2000)
  15. ^ Weinstein, Steve (May 25, 1994). "Television: Ricki Lake's Emmy-nominated program has broken out of the pack by targeting young viewers". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  16. ^ Weinstein, Steve (May 25, 1994). "A Talk Show for the Ages (That's 18-34) : Television: Ricki Lake's Emmy-nominated program has broken out of the pack by targeting young viewers". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 3, 2024.
  17. ^ "Breaking News - Development Update: September 24 | TheFutonCritic.com". www.thefutoncritic.com.
  18. ^ "Breaking News - 2004 Natpe Wrap-Up Report | TheFutonCritic.com". www.thefutoncritic.com.
  19. ^ "Ricki Lake Does Not Miss Doing Her Talk Show". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
  20. ^ "Ricki Talks Again" from NY Post (October 11, 2005)
  21. ^ "CNN.com Video". CNN. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  22. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Ricki Lake Poised for a 2012 Comeback" from Broadcasting & Cable (March 14, 2011)
  23. ^ Albiniak, Paige (April 20, 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Ricki Lake Returning to Daytime". Archived from the original on April 24, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2021.

External links edit