About Talkers Magazine
Latest Issue Front Page
Talk Radio Research Project
Heavy Hundred 2001
Week in Review
of Talk Radio 2002 Edition
at the Heritage Foundation
David Susskind was an early example of the “intelligent” school
of talk show hosts to develop programs during the late 1950s and 1960s.
He spent the early part of his career as a press and talent agent before
he went into television program development in the early 1950s. His talk
show career began in New York with a late night talk program called “Open
End” which premiered in 1958. The show was unique not in that it
focused on intelligent and articulate guests, but because the program
had no scheduled conclusion and would simply stop when everyone was too
tired to talk anymore.
Susskind scored some big interviews. He received a lot of press when he
interviewed Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1960. While he liked his
program to be intelligent, he also wanted it to be controversial and,
at times, confrontational. It is for this type of talk programming that
Susskind is remembered by talk fans and his recognition by historians
as being a strong influence on future talk television.