Skip to main content

Main Area


Best and worst talk shows in TV history

  • Best and worst talk shows in TV history

    From news and political commentary to gossip and tabloid fodder, talk shows have been entertaining viewers with a wide range of topics for decades. The variety of styles and formatting is endless—there are late-night talk shows with funny opening monologues, morning programs with goofy stunts, cable news shows with heated political debates, and daytime talk shows featuring sensational family dramas.

    As a collection of brand new talk shows debuts this year hosted by prominent celebs such as Kelly Clarkson, Alec Baldwin, and Hasan Minhaj, Stacker would like to tip its hat to the best—as well as the worst—talk shows throughout history. To come up with the list, Stacker relied on IMDb data, using its rankings to order shows. Included are English-language programs released in the U.S.; anything before 1990 required a minimum of 250 votes for consideration whereas shows after 1990 needed a minimum of 2,500 votes.

    Read on to see the complete list of the talk shows, beginning with the lowest-ranked programs and moving up to those with the highest ratings.

    ALSO: Lifetime movies ranked best to worst

  • #77. The 700 Club

    IMDb rating: 2.0

    Years: 1966–

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    Aired on the Christian Broadcasting Network every weekday for nearly 40 years, the conservative religious talk show is one of the longest-running television programs in history. It stars evangelical host Pat Robertson, a former Southern Baptist minister and 1988 presidential candidate, who leads emotional episodes filled with gospel music, sermons, group prayers, and interview segments.

  • #76. Last Call with Carson Daly

    IMDb rating: 2.8

    Years: 2002–

    Typical episode length: 30 min

    “Last Call" debuted in 2002 as NBC’s post-show encore to the “Late Night With Conan O’Brien." Carson Daly’s program began as your standard in-studio variety show featuring interviews and a house band. The current iteration of the show, which is in its 17th season, features host Carson Daly taking to the streets of Los Angeles and other cities in documentary-style interviews and musical performances.


  • #75. The View

    IMDb rating: 2.8

    Years: 1997–

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    Conceived by legendary broadcast journalist Barbara Walters, “The View" is a daytime talk show featuring a panel of women debating the day’s most topical issues. The panel is intentionally comprised of women of varying ages, backgrounds, and political orientations with the goal of unpacking tough social and political issues. The original hosting panel included Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, and Joy Behar.

  • #74. Fox and Friends

    IMDb rating: 3.4

    Years: 1998–

    Typical episode length: 180 min

    Fox and Friends is a conservative morning talk show hosted by Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade. Recurring segments include “Normal or Nuts," in which a psychiatrist answers viewer questions posed on social media; and “So Sue Me," which features a trial lawyer weighing in on current events. President Donald Trump, who is reportedly a fan of the show, in 2017 called it the “most influential news show."


  • #73. The O'Reilly Factor

    IMDb rating: 3.5

    Years: 1996–2017

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    Hosted by political commentator Bill O’Reilly, “The O’Reilly Factor" was a long-running cable news program on Fox News. The conservative and often bombastic host was known for his controversial takes on subjects. In one of the show’s more infamous episodes, fellow talk show hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off set after O’Reilly declared that “Muslims killed us on 9/11." The show ended in April of 2017 after a string of sexual assault allegations emerged against O’Reilly.

  • #72. Bill Nye Saves the World

    IMDb rating: 3.5

    Years: 2017–

    Typical episode length: 30 min

    “Bill Nye Saves the World" is a Netflix-produced talk show featuring mechanical engineer and science educator Bill Nye (formerly of PBS' “Bill Nye The Science Guy"). Nye asks guests probing questions about science and participates in lab experiments. Fans say the show “inspires awe in its viewers as opposed to lecturing them," while critics accuse it of being “lame“ and “corny."

  • #71. Wendy: The Wendy Williams Show

    IMDb rating: 3.6

    Years: 2008–

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    This celebrity news and gossip talk show, hosted by the straight-shooting and sometimes cheeky Wendy Williams, begins with a "Hot Topics" segment where the host weighs in on the latest tabloid dramas. Following that, Williams rotates through various feature segments that include guests interviews, man-on-the-street bits, and audience Q&As involving advice about relationships and other issues.

  • #70. The Talk

    IMDb rating: 3.7

    Years: 2010–

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    “The Talk" is a daily program on CBS that features a panel of women discussing news topics and expressing their opinions about current events as seen through the lens of motherhood. The show, modeled after the popular British talk show “Loose Women," was created by “Rosanne" star Sara Gilbert and is co-hosted with comedian Sheryl Underwood, music manager Sharon Osbourne, and rapper-musician Eve.

  • #69. The Jay Leno Show

    IMDb rating: 3.7

    Years: 2009–2010

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    The Jay Leno Show“ was a poorly received late-night show that ran for a brief four-month stint between two incarnations of its much more successful counterpart, “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." The program was conceived as an attempt to keep Leno at the network amid a late-night feud and contract issues with Conan O’Brien. The program included your standard opening monologue, celebrity interviews, musical performances, and comedy sketches. In 2010, Entertainment Weekly listed the failed show #1 on its list of “TV's 50 Biggest Bombs Ever.“

  • #68. Jerry Springer

    IMDb rating: 3.8

    Years: 1991–2018

    Typical episode length: 60 min

    An early pioneer of sensational tabloid talk shows, “The Jerry Springer Show" features ordinary people confronting romantic partners, friends, spouses, and family members in a salacious manner about scandalous topics. Especially notorious guests have included a man who was married to a horse, a mother-daughter dominatrix team, and a woman who claimed she’d broken a world record by sleeping with 251 men in 10 hours. While new episodes are no longer being produced, reruns and unaired episodes are still played regularly.