Former Daytime Talk Host Sally Jessy Raphael Admits She ‘Hated’ Her Show’s Trashy Final Years: ‘I Should Have Fought Harder’

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, Sally Jessy Raphael was one of the biggest stars of daytime talk, with “The Sally Jessy Raphael Show” eventually cancelled in 2002 after an impressive 19-year run. Looking back, however, Raphael now admits she was unhappy with the increasingly trashy direction her show took in its final years as producers tried to battle increasingly tough competition from the likes of Jerry Springer’s daily freak show and Montel Williams’ paternity-test meltdowns.

Speaking with Oprah Winfrey on the latest episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, 81-year-old Raphael says she now wishes she hadn’t caved into the pressure placed upon her to boost ratings by getting down in the muck with Jerry, Maury, Montel and the rest.

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“The last years of doing those Maury Povich/Jerry Springer shows? I hated them,” she says. “I was betrayed by some of the producers into doing that. Come to think of it, I should have fought harder for what I knew what right — what I knew that I didn’t want to do.”

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When the show became the victim of low ratings in 2002, its cancellation came as a complete shock to the host and staff, who were previously told that “Sally” would be continuing.

“They told us that the show was going to go on and we had 250 employees,” Raphael says. “Now some of them said, ‘Sally, we need to know if we’re going to be renewed. I want to buy a house or my wife and I want to be pregnant.’ And then within two months after they bought their house and got pregnant or whatever, I had to go in front of the entire crew and staff.”

She adds: “I’m sure there are some who think that I knew all along. I did not. I would not… I would have said to them ‘I don’t know’ instead of ‘Yes, it’s a go.”

The entire interview airs on the Saturday, Oct. 29 edition of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”

 

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