General News

Sally Jessy Raphael goes off the air

By:
Mar 15, 2002 | 12:34pm EST

Sally Jessy Raphael just couldn't be a "shock" talk show host.

Raphael, whose show was canned last week by Studios USA, told her side of the story to Larry King on the March 13 edition of Larry King Live. Her bosses, she says, were forcing her to do what she termed a "coarser type of show," much like her competition Maury and Jerry Springer, to try and lift ratings.

Studios USA, owned by Barry Diller, says it pulled the plug on the Raphael's show because of low ratings. The show, which is the longest running syndicated talk show on TV, was just shy of celebrating its 20th year on the air.

Raphael insisted, however, that it just wasn't her style, saying that her audience expected something different from her.

"I told everyone in sight, this is what you bought and it isn't me," she told King. "And I envy the people that can do that--but I can't do it. I just can't."

Still, Raphael attempted to do the kind of show the producers wanted her to do, especially during the November sweeps. She called it "a carnival type of show…[with] the sameness of the DNA tests, the sameness of the lie detector, the sameness of big-breasted women."

Raphael and the producers all came to the same conclusion-it just wasn't working.

"So for two months I was able to go back to the old Sally. But the problem was, you can't turn an ocean liner around in that port in two months," she told King. She felt she lost her core audience while the carnival shows were airing.

"People...came to their television sets not knowing what to expect. And people would say to me...'I was with you all those years in radio and this is the kind of person and this is who you are--and I can't watch this.'"

Raphael's final show will air April 25.

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