Chat Shows: Incisive interviews to dumbing down of intellect

So, after Michael Parkinson left this mortal coil, a discussion arose in the RIP Thread concerning chat shows and if they have value in contemporary broadcasting.

We all have the hosts we like and dislike, formats we agree with etc.
But do we see chat shows as offering an insight into celebrity, or as someone pointed out are they mere vehicles for plugging new books or whatever.
They are described as part of the neo liberal agenda of dumbing down society and are often blamed for the 15 minutes of fame celebrity status we are all supposed to experience.

Are they worthwhile?
How are the best hosts?
Norton? Ross? Who else?

For me the best, and best format is on RTE. Tommy Tiernan is given guests and only finds out who is on the show when they walk on.

It is a great concept, often Tommy has to ask who the guest is, and why are they famous.
He makes mistakes, creates a stir but is in general brilliant at probing questions.
For me, it’s the best at the moment.

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New thread, and I was thinking that we are signing Goncalo Inacio :roll_eyes: :pleading_face:

Parky will be missed.

I used to like Ross’s show and I do like Graham Norton but (aside from the fact I no longer live in the country) I would only really tune in if they had someone on that I was interested in. Even then, it’s only mild banter and not the level of detail that would interest me.

Tommy Tiernan is a good shout for an old school interviewer. Most of his guests aren’t that well known but he is very adept at getting a story out of them.

I’m not sure if you remember a Channel 4 show from the early days called After Dark? That was an interesting concept as they would focus on a particular topic and invite several people with differing viewpoints to discuss it. Not exactly a chat show but the format did allow for intelligent debate.

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Bill Maher, literally the only liberal host that takes direct shots at the antics/doctrines of his political party.

I think this guy brought a whole new ‘addictive’ style to his interviewing technique :0)
Rule Book well and truly went out of the window

Sort of says the same thing that we are thinking…

Michael Parkinson’s intellectual early interviews show how low British TV has sunk (

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purely just interviewing celebrities and actors also stifles the level…

the old ill set up a funny story and you tell them about the time you… shite is really painful.

i guess interviewing someone like a Judy Dench is interesting as there is a body of work and a life story, but intrerviewing some millionaire teenager who happened to start in Harry Potter or some such (not targeting these guys, they are probably thoroughly decent humans, its not my point to suggest they are not) — theres nothing really that interesting to talk about…they were born, worked hard young, got a good gig, and are now loaded…

Ross i just cant…Norton is light …the american ones ‘late nights with’… its just pure fluff… its both things though, its the dumbing down of questioning, but its also the person being interviewed…a multi millionaire who gets paid to network and pretend he’s someone else on a screen…

they can represent a good cause…but they struggle to be REPRESENTATIVE of that cause…

you want to talk about space, interview someone from NASA, you want to talk about the cultural phenomenon of Barbie, interview the original marketing team… etc etc etc

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