When we think of talk shows, there is not a singular image that comes to mind. Every talk show brings something different to the table, whether it’s a single person conducting an interview, or a group of people adding commentary to an issue of the time. One piece remains constant: Some type of drama always manages to follow!
Whether the drama comes in the form of conversation or maybe as a big “gotcha!” moment on live TV, talk shows are always stirring the pot, waiting for things to come to a boiling point. Here are some of the juiciest, cringiest, and most controversial moments from talk shows throughout the years!
Good Morning America
Any person who becomes famous will eventually deal with a crazed fan or two. Sometimes fans take things a little too far and go a little too above and beyond to get the attention of their idols. Those who cross the line may go as far as they possibly can to get the attention of their favorite stars. The stars of Good Morning America are pretty used to this!
In 2014, a man named Troy Warren threatened one of the Good Morning America hosts, Robin Roberts. He claimed that she owed him money, and he would do whatever he could to get it back. It would later come out that Warren showed up to the studio eight times in 14 days to try and get ahold of her! Naturally, he was arrested.
Having a role on TV often comes with attention and comments from the public, and naturally they aren’t all great comments! However, so many comments often come as the result of speculation and rumors. Robin Roberts was the center of conversations among her industry when she decided to put rumors about her romantic preferences to rest.
In 2013, Roberts put rumors behind her when she came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community. She shared the news over social media, much like many others in today’s day and age. She thanked her long-term partner Amber Laign for their relationship of ten years. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last much longer. So many were quick to criticize Roberts, saying she should have come out earlier. Live and let live!
Be You, Robin Roberts!
Robin Roberts is certainly used to speculation about her sexual preferences, and she has been subject to many rumors over the years. Why such harsh criticism? In April 2016, Roberts appeared on the cover of the official tourism guide for the state of Mississippi, the state where she grew up. The star was born in Tuskegee, Alabama but grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi. This may seem harmless, but critics had a ton to say about it!
The Advocate, an LGBTQ-interest magazine, had plenty to say about this cover appearance. They chose to dig into Roberts for supporting a state that often refused (and still does) to help the LGBT community and often would not help single mothers, either. Roberts defended the photoshoot and cover appearance, saying that she and her partner Amber had always felt comfortable and welcomed in her home state.
Feuds are an age-old part of the entertainment industry. It should not come as a surprise when people who have to share the stage or screen may have a few rifts between them. Naturally, Good Morning America has a handful of their own. TMZ reported that Amy Robach and Lara Spencer absolutely hate each other, are open about it, and struggle to hide it.
The feud between Robach and Spencer was so intense that a senior vice president at ABC News called the women “toxic” due to the tension their feud created on set. While the two have denied hard feelings, they have not done much to show they have cooled down. Radar Online made claims that the feud was a result of Lara Spencer’s continual flirting on set and her apparent abandonment of Amy Robach when she was dealing with breast cancer.
Michael Strahan may be charismatic but is also a common point of interest when it comes to rumors. Many rumors have followed him throughout his career, but some have more than others. Tons of rumors came in September 2017, when Hurricane Harvey swept the States and left a path of destruction in Houston, Texas – Strahan’s hometown.
Though Good Morning America wanted Strahan to be the one to report on the hard times his hometown faced, he wasn’t able to do so. Why? Well, Michael Strahan was on vacation in Greece at the time! Page Six reported that ABC was upset with him – he supposedly refused to cut his trip short to return to help with the breaking news. Was the sun worth it, Michael?
Dancing with the Stars is all about competition, so it should not come as a surprise that it can bring out the best and worst in people. The show is known for bringing many celebrities onto the show, whether they are still relevant or not. For some, it brings about a revival. When Ginger Zee, another Good Morning America star showed up to set, her husband decided to stir the pot for her.
Apparently, Zee’s husband, Ben Aaron, showed up at the studio at every possible opportunity. He would try and give show producers directions on how to do their jobs, like how to film and write for the video packages Zee would appear in. His comments became too much, and he was told to back off, followed by less camera time with his wife and terrible seats in the audience!
Kelly and Michael
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan were a dynamic duo who graced our screens for a time. You could not talk about one without the other; they were a package deal, thanks to their work on Live! With Kelly and Michael. When Strahan announced he was moving to Good Morning America, it turned out that Kelly found out just moments before the rest of the world did.
As a result, Kelly immediately decided to take some vacation time and vacated the set. Michael would have to pay the price and make his announcement to the world without his sidekick on screen with him. Their reunion after just seemed awkward and forced, not a situation we would want to find ourselves in with a coworker!
The Tight Ship at Good Morning America
If the rumors are true, there are no celebrations that come with any kind of promotion on the set of Good Morning America. Apparently, Robin Roberts ran a tight ship and would not allow it. TMZ claimed that a source from the show reported that the staff needed to keep a new co-host’s promotion under wraps.
This rumor comes with a ton of theories. It is hard to say for sure why they could not celebrate – maybe Roberts was not a fan of being joined by newly-promoted colleagues who worked under her, maybe she just liked to be seen as “team captain.” Maybe it was a power trip. We may never know the truth!
That’s a Big Mistake!
You might think that shows like Good Morning America would have a top-of-the-line research department, but it seems a major mistake disproved that. In May 2019, the show was met with some major heat after they misreported the names of two Black celebrities at the Met Gala. Whether it was an honest or an ignorant mistake, it was a big no-no on their part!
When the show reported on the Met Gala, one of the biggest events of the year, they compiled a video reel of celebrity interviews and matched names with faces. While this is usually a good thing (not everyone in the world is well-versed in celebrity culture!), this was not their best work. While focusing on both Tiffany Haddish and Regina Hall, the network identified Hall as Haddish on screen and viewers were very quick to call them on it!
At a mere 5-foot-6, George Stephanopoulos is not exactly the tallest host at Good Morning America. He comes up a little short in comparison to his colleagues, so much so that his producers tried to raise his chair to match their height in the studio. This did not work in the way they hoped.
He comes in as a bit tinier than his co-stars, like Robin Roberts who is 5-foot-10, and Michael Strahan who grazes the skies at 6-foot-5. The desk they sit together at on the show was formerly open on the bottom, but because of Stephanopoulos’ height, they decided to put a metal bar through the anchor desk to hide his hanging legs!
It does not take much knowledge about the entertainment industry to know that industry schedules can be super demanding! Especially in the world of morning talk shows, an anchor’s schedule is next-level stressful. Hosts of the show live hectic lives, and Robin Roberts shared her schedule secrets with her fans.
Roberts is up before dawn, starting her morning at 3:15 am every day. She turns on the TV to see what news may have broken while she got her beauty rest, meditates, turns the TV back on and gets ready to start her day. She is driven to the studio and chooses to listen to gospel music during that time and always skips coffee and breakfast.
What Did You Just Say?
It should not come as a surprise to know that so many of these esteemed broadcasters manage to put their foot in their mouth from time to time. It might feel like there is always some celebrity that is apologizing for their actions or for something they said on air.
This was the case for Lara Spencer in August 2019. She decided to voice her opinions on Prince George being taught ballet in his school curriculum, over in the U.K. These comments quickly turned into mockery, and those in the studio and at home noticed. She offered some half-baked type of apology on social media.
Little by little, Lara Spencer’s time on-air was shaved down. Hosts of Good Morning America knew that they were always hanging by a thread and that they could lose their post at any moment. Lara Spencer fell victim to reduced screen time, so naturally people were upset when they saw her less and less.
In 2018, the network wanted to focus their attention on the other hosts of Good Morning America like Michael Strahan, Robin Roberts, and George Stephanopoulos. Sources from the inside claimed that her hours were cut because the show was falling in ratings to The Today Show – but it was primarily because someone from her team had leaked important information.
Last Minute Cancellation
As we know, Michael Strahan moved to Good Morning America after working with Kelly Ripa on Live! With Kelly and Michael. Naturally, this did not put Kelly in the best state of mind, so when it was time for the next host to join her, she made sure that she had every bit of control she possibly could.
Ryan Seacrest, Kelly’s current co-host, was scheduled to appear on Good Morning America one morning in 2017. Unfortunately, he had to cancel last minute, leaving disappointed fans to speculate about why he was not gracing their screens. It was noted later that when Kelly found out her co-host would make that appearance, she lost her marbles, leaving Seacrest with no choice but to cancel.
Put Him on a Pedestal
Good Morning America seems to be filled with scandals, doesn’t it? It seems that tons of the drama and tension at GMA is caused by Michael Strahan and his special treatment. Insiders in the world of GMA have suggested that Strahan has received special, preferential treatment since day one.
Those same sources make it seem like Michael Strahan has a red carpet rolled out for him every day at work. He is apparently treated like a king, meanwhile the other “seasoned talent is treated like dirt.” Isn’t it interesting what we hear when the cameras are not rolling?
Attack of the Internet Users
Public personalities are often subject to extra scrutiny. Why should they deserve it, just because their job puts them in the spotlight? After sharing a photo of her look from the Emmys in 2019 on social media, Lara Spencer was hit with the worst: comments from online trolls! Why is that?
Unfortunately, Lara Spencer was body shamed for a number of her qualities. People made nasty comments about her being “too old for that dress”; others noted her “#SaggyKnees.”. Hopefully, these bored internet commenters didn’t get to Lara’s head!
Much like Hollywood, the world of broadcast news moves fast, and roles are always switching up with the next best thing. Quick changes seem to be the style for Good Morning America, especially when new anchors disappear to fill roles on other shows! This was definitely the case with Josh Elliott.
Josh Elliott was a new anchor who joined the Good Morning America team in 2011, when he was quickly pulled in to replace Juju Chang who was heading off to Nightline. He became a quick favorite for viewers, but this did not last too long. People speculated about tensions on set and his search for more money. After a short three years, it was time to say goodbye to Josh. He soon headed off to NBC to work as a sports reporter.
What Did You Just Say? Part II
The hosts of Good Morning America seem to love getting caught saying the wrong thing on screen! This seems to be a constant problem with the show’s token blondes. Amy Robach found herself stumbling to apologize for her remarks on screen back in August 2016. Zendaya deserved better!
Robach was caught using a phrase that was racially charged and all around inappropriate while discussing Zendaya’s upcoming role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The actress has an African American father, and Robach made some comments regarding the supposed controversy that was caused by her being cast in the role. Honestly, Amy Robach needs to check herself!
Stirring the Pot
You might think that the world of late-night comedy shows might be light and breezy, based on what we see on screen. This certainly is not the case, and one former late-night host is certainly known for stirring up controversies. The host? David Letterman. Boy did he agitate some of his guests, and then some!
You might think that a nice Jewish boy from Indiana would have a sense of kindness toward all his guests. You might even think that in his lengthy career, he would be able to act professionally with all of his guests. Seriously, he brings people onto his show to have conversations. If they want to stop, why would anyone keep prying on national TV? Well, we guess that’s just his style…
The Lindsay Lohan Scandal
It’s no surprise that if a guest on a show has a troubled past, a talk show host might try to bring it up in an interview. When Lindsay Lohan appeared on his show, an actress who has been in the spotlight since she was a child, Letterman took things a little too far.
He started off by saying that he always makes jokes about her but started the segment by running through his prepared jokes and scrapping them on-screen. He continued to make jokes about her criminal history, and she laughed along with an awkward “can we please move on now?” expression on her face. Want to hear what happened next?
Lohan Part III
Part two of Letterman’s 2013 interview with Lindsay Lohan was not only pushy, but it was all around rude. He continued to speak to the actress as if all she’s ever done was spend time in rehab. While she certainly has had quite a few trips to help her get cleaned up, Letterman pried into it as if he were a rehab story vulture.
Lohan kept her cool but had no problem calling Letterman out for straying from the typical pre-interview that was conducted before the show. Talk shows require pre-interviews to ensure that stars and other guests do not talk about things that they don’t want to. Letterman used his platform to cross any and all lines.
Standing Up for Herself
No, we are not done with the Lohan and Letterman beef! The movie star wanted to move onto the reason she was at the show: promoting a movie she was in. Instead, the show host presented Lohan with tons of crippling and tasteless comments and jokes about her experiences getting clean and getting the help she clearly needed.
Lindsay Lohan stood up for herself and made sure that he did not ask her questions she didn’t approve of. He could not let go of her impending trip to rehab. Letterman went on to give backhanded compliments saying that she wouldn’t have been confident enough to show her face on a show like his. The interview ended with Lohan in tears.
Oprah Winfrey vs. David Letterman
Two of the “greats” in the talk show world really do not get on well. Seen to some as “the feud heard around the world.” David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey were both at the top of their game, Letterman in late-night and Oprah in daytime. Their feud has lasted 20 years and then some.
The pressure was on between the two talk show hosts after what Winfrey described as an “uncomfortable” appearance on Letterman’s show. This appearance made her refuse to ever come onto his show again, and he decided not to take the high road and dug into her further by making even more jokes. So much of the feud was likely exaggerated, but it made headlines for a while.
Drew Barrymore? More Like Barry-Too-Much!
To this day, the world does not quite know if Drew Barrymore’s 1995 appearance on Letterman was scripted or not, based on the crazy stunt she pulled on screen. In one of the most memorable moments of late-night television, the then-20-year-old chose to bring in the host’s upcoming 48th birthday.
The energetic 20-year-old star got up on the desk to dance, show off her tattoos, and entertain both Letterman and his audience. She ended up pulling up her shirt and flashing the host. His face in the clip was truly priceless!
Pushing His Limits
Letterman seems to have a habit of ignoring the wishes of his guests. They express that they do not want to talk about something, or that they want to move on, and David just continues to ignore them. Before the Lindsay Lohan debacle, Janet Jackson was a victim to his prying.
The whole segment was awkward, starting with a pre-show clip of the two standing side by side. After bringing up her recent Super Bowl drama with Justin Timberlake back in 2004, she openly said she did not know what was about to happen and that she did not want to talk about the event. She said she wanted to put it behind her, and he said he didn’t. Rude!
Ignoring Guest Wishes
Letterman continued to talk about Janet Jackson’s appearance at the 2004 Super Bowl, he ignored her constant requests to stop talking about Timberlake’s performance stunt. Letterman talked about how he did not like the way the star grabbed her, and that he thought that it seta bad example.
Meanwhile, he continued to push those boundaries and go against the woman’s wishes to move onto a new topic. He continued to discuss female body parts and, for a solid 15 minutes, she had to keep repeating that the event was an accident. Letterman, when someone says “no” that means you have to respect her wishes!
Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno: The Great Shake Up
Back in 2009, comedy legend Conan O’Brien was selected to replace another legend, Jay Leno, on the iconic late-night program, The Tonight Show. What happened next is known to have shaken up the entire entertainment industry to its very core. After just seven months on the job, O’Brien was ousted from his post… so Leno could take his old job back!
This caused a stir in the entire industry, leading many comedians and other late-night hosts to be forced to choose sides. While many did choose to side with O’Brien, he wanted to put it all behind him and move on. “The odds are we will both leave this Earth without speaking to each other, which is fine,” O’Brien said of Leno in 2012. “There’s really nothing to say.”
Who Took Carson’s Post?
For years, late-night legends and comedy wannabes knew that David Letterman might be taking Johnny Carson’s post as the next host of The Tonight Show. Johnny Carson’s team ended up passing on Letterman taking his spot when he retired in 1992. Instead, they opted for Jay Leno.
This feud runs deep. Their rivalry is so well known that there was even an HBO film created about it in 1996 called The Late Shift. Their rivalry lasted for multiple decades and Letterman later was quoted sharing some harsh words. “There are two kinds of talk show hosts: Jay Leno and those who have been victimized by Jay Leno.”
Jane Fonda Won’t Take Your BS
Back in 2017, Megyn Kelly felt the wrath of Hollywood legend Jane Fonda. Kelly felt the heat when she decided to ask Fonda, who was 80 years old at the time, about her aging and any plastic surgery she may have had. Fonda was not pleased and made it clear that she was not having it.
Jane Fonda was clearly set off and bit back at the talk show host. “We really want to talk about that now?” the star said, before ignoring her and continuing to speak about the movie she was there to promote at the time. Later, Fonda would joke about the matter and Kelly would accuse her of being fixated on the matter.
The Ellen Empire Goes Down
2020 was already a year for the books, but by summertime, even more would come up. In summer 2020, multiple staffers at Ellen DeGeneres’ show came forward and accused her of creating a toxic workplace. Naturally, Ellen had released a statement to her team that she would work on making things better. Did that really fix it, though?
The host had an army of celebrity support to defend her. Kevin Hart and Katy Perry were among those who stepped up for their friend. Others, however, were happy to share the claims they had heard. Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson shared what they had heard about negative experiences. WarnerMedia launched an investigation shortly after, in July 2020.
Adios, Megyn Kelly
Some people seem to think that they can get away with anything. Megyn Kelly seems to be one of those people. She had already come under fire in the past, but she did even more so when the television host wore blackface makeup while celebrating Halloween. She even defended her actions.
The star said that when she was a kid, it was alright as long as there was a costume to go with it. Hey, Megyn – that’s never ok, even if you did it as a child! She apologized to her staff members via email and later read a statement on air. NBC promptly announced just two days later that they had canceled Megyn Kelly Today in the wake of the events.
Matt Lauer and Ann Curry, Not Quite the Best of Friends
We are not quite sure of who assigns the role of “powerhouse” when casting new talk shows; maybe hosts battle it out gladiator style, we may never know. This frequently causes struggles for co-stars, as everyone wants to be the one in charge. This seemed to be the case with Matt Lauer and Ann Curry from The Today Show.
Ann Curry left Today in a hurry in June 2012. Things got messier when reporter Brian Stelter wrote a book about the matter, taking a deep dive into the world of morning television. Stelter alleged that Ann Curry had been made fun of constantly and mistreated by other staff members. Her final days in studio 1A of 30 Rockefeller Center were apparently torture. Other writers also made claims that Matt Lauer had something to do with it, as he “did not want her there.” Ouch!
The “Ghetto” Girl
Leah Remini, a star of King of Queens fame, left The Talk in 2011. As all stars seem to these days, Remini took to Twitter to air her grievances and make allegations against Sharon Osbourne for her dismissal from the show. She claimed that Osbourne thought she was “ghetto” as if that had anything to do with… anything.
We don’t blame Remini for being upset about being ousted from the show – we might be upset too if we were in her place! Remini also made claims of a power trip that Sharon Osbourne was on. Osbourne defended herself by saying she had nothing to do with the departure, and that Leah Remini was just spreading lies.
Another Letterman Scandal
This guy might often put himself in bad situations, but this one seems… unnecessarily terrible. In 2009, David Letterman shared some racy information with his audience. He admitted to having had sexual relationships with staffers from his show in the past. He also added that he had paid $2 million as part of an extortion plot.
He later told his audience that he had to go downtown and testify before a grand jury. Three weeks prior, he had received a package to the studio. ABC News reported that the package contained a threat to reveal his indiscretions if he did not pay up. Even more drama ensued from there…
The Extortionist, Part II
Letterman and his attorney were able to take down his blackmailer and serve up some very necessary justice. After calling his attorney, the team set up a meeting with the extortionist. The person committing the crime told Letterman he wanted to “write a screenplay about him that included sordid details of the talk show host’s life.”
They planned a second meeting that, with the help of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, resulted in a bogus $2 million dollar check. At that moment, the blackmailer shared even more plans to embarrass Letterman publicly. The person of interest was arrested, and Letterman shared his gratitude for the Special Prosecution Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for their help in getting the guy behind bars.
Alec Baldwin Causes a Stir
For a short moment, Alec Baldwin was the host of his own MSNBC show, which was canceled in 2013. The show was canceled when he directed a slur against the LGBTQ+ community against a paparazzo taking photos of him that same year in New York City.
The 30 Rock star released an apology for his actions, stating that he understood the weight of his words. Us magazine reported the statement as, “Words are important. I understand that and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable.” Good thing you see the error of your ways, Alec!
Jimmy Kimmel Makes a Bad Joke
Jimmy Kimmel has had a segment on his show for years that highlights the silly thoughts and opinions of little kids. In most cases, everything is cute and light-hearted. This time, it doesn’t appear to be the case. In his segment, he asked children how the U.S. should pay back the money it owes China. The next response was unexpected.
One child had a shocking response. The young one said to “kill everyone in China” which should have been cut in general. However, instead, Kimmel responded with something just as disturbing. “That’s an interesting idea,” the star joked. That “joke” would cost him, as a White House petition signed by more than 100,000 people called for him to apologize for the skit. The star said he thought it was obvious it was a joke but took responsibility for the error of his ways.
Sharon Stirs Things Up
The whole Osbourne clan has managed to make headlines throughout the years, some for better reasons than others. The host of The Talk made headlines in November 2013 after she made nasty comments about the ladies of The View when she appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show. Want to know what she said?
The star shared her love for Barbara Walters, claiming that she “idolized” the talk show host. Though she would later come out and say that she was just trying to be funny, she followed up on her compliment with a snarky statement. “The rest of [the hosts] can go f**k themselves!” the star “joked,” later referring to herself as irresponsible and a “loose cannon.”
The Marlon Bundo Book
A personal favorite, this one takes the cake. In March 2018, the former Vice President’s daughter released a book about their family bunny, entitled Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President. This book was meant to show children what a day in the life of someone in his position might look like. One of the VP’s many critics was the Late Night host John Oliver.
John Oliver and his team fired back at the VP and his family by publishing their own version of the book, a parody. Their book fired shots at the VP and his family, who were notoriously known for being anti-LGBT rights, by making a version of the book depicting a gay bunny who wants to get married but cannot because of a stink bug that resembles the politician. All of the proceeds of the rival book went to support LGBTQ charities.