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
He began his career as a singer and even scored a number
one hit in 1950 with the song, “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of
Coconuts.” But when he filled in for Jack Paar on “The Tonight
Show” in 1962, audiences loved him so much that he got his own TV
talk show during the day.
Griffin is considered one of the innovators of the daytime TV talk shows
but there were really two Merv Griffin shows. In the 1960s Griffin’s
program was controversial. He took on the issues of that turbulent period.
Griffin’s unassuming style allowed him to bring in polarizing guests
who might not work on network television with a more intellectual approach.
In addition, Griffin’s entertainment guests were often considered
outrageous for daytime television including comedians like George Carlin
and Richard Pryor.
In 1972 Griffin switched from CBS to syndication via Metromedia and this
new show took a decidedly more entertainment-oriented approach. In 1986,
Griffin retired from the talk show business to concentrate on his game
He went on to become a fabulously successful, wealthy television producer
and hotel owner whose mark on broadcasting and pop culture is, indeed,