Maury (TV series)

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Maury
Maury logo.png
Genre Tabloid talk show
Created by Maury Povich
Presented by Maury Povich
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 22 (since original airing)
15 (since revamp)
No. of episodes 2,640
Production
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) MoPo Productions (1991–present) (Season 1-present)
Faulhaber Media (2009–present) (Season 19-present)
Distributor Paramount Domestic Television (1991–1998) (Seasons 1-7)
Studios USA (1998–2002) (Seasons 8-11)
Universal Domestic Television (2002–2004) (Seasons 12-13)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present) (Season 14-present)
Release
Original network Syndicated
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV) (1991–present)
480i (16:9 EDTV) (2012–present)
Original release September 9, 1991 – present
External links
Website
Maury Povich

Maury (sometimes known as The Maury Povich Show) is a syndicated American tabloid talk show hosted by Maury Povich.

When the series first aired in 1991, the show was called The Maury Povich Show and was produced by MoPo Productions in association with Paramount Domestic Television. The show adopted the title Maury in the 1995–1996 season. The show was then revamped in the 1998–1999 season, when Studios USA (now NBCUniversal) took over production. However, MoPo continues to co-produce with NBCUniversal. For the series' first 18 seasons, it was taped in New York City, but beginning with Season 19, the show has been taped in the Stamford Media Center in Stamford, Connecticut.[1] Maury is one of four NBC Universal syndicated properties to make the move to Connecticut, joining the former Chicago-based Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos shows. The fourth, the syndicated Deal or No Deal, is no longer in production. The Trisha Goddard Show became the fourth show in production with NBC Universal. As of 2007, NBC owned and operated stations no longer air Maury.

On September 17, 2012, during the premiere of its 22nd season, episodes of Maury began airing in widescreen, though not in high definition. On March 26, 2013, Maury was renewed for an additional three years until 2018.

Common show themes[edit]

Maury has dealt with a variety of issues across its 21 seasons, including—but not limited to—teenage pregnancy, sexual infidelity, paternity test results, uncommon illnesses, makeovers, "out of control" teenagers, transgender individuals, obese children, domestic violence, little people, bullying, and unusual phobias. After the taping of these episodes, guests are often tracked for progress, both on air and on the Maury website.[2]

The show in its early years covered topics of a serious nature, including gang warfare.

From 2008 onwards, the most common topic is paternity testing, followed by lie-detector testing. Abusive relationships and "out-of-control" teen girls are approximately tied for a distant third. Updates on previous guests are also a theme, while other topics such as missing children, transgender individuals, and "caught on tape" moments are featured 1–2 times a year.

At the end of every year, Maury does a top 10 countdown of the most memorable guests of the year, with updates on each guest. Episodes featuring updates on past guests also are periodically aired throughout the year. Guests either appear in person or by video message updating Maury on their situations.

Paternity tests[edit]

One of the most famous topics associated with Maury is paternity testing: a mother appears on-air attempting to prove (or disprove, in some cases) that a man is the biological father of her child or children. Often the mother will bring the child or children to the studio to prove her claim's validity to Maury, the audience, and the accused father. She will often say "I'm 100%/1000% (or some other high amount) sure he is the father!" Images of the father and child are displayed on the screen. She is occasionally accompanied by her mother or other family member, either on set or in the audience. In most cases, the accused father is hostile towards the accusing mother, giving various reasons (such as infidelity and sterility) why the child cannot be related to him, often saying "The baby doesn't look like me" and sometimes "I can't have kids", "She never told me she was pregnant", or "She cheated on me". Sometimes the accused father believes that the accusing mother is just after money. He is often booed loudly by the audience when coming out on the set. Both he and the mother occasionally have to be separated by Maury or security. The accused father is occasionally accompanied by his significant other or a family member to support his claim.

In other episodes, a man who has been a devoted dad for his child(ren)'s whole life/lives discovers that he might not be the biological father but might have suffered a paternity fraud (he discovers this either by infidelity suspicions/proof, or the wife may admit it to the husband on the show) and turn to a paternity test for proof.

After the initial accusations, Maury sits the opposing parties down to read the results of a paternity test that had been performed before the show's taping. Before reading the results, Maury asks the man what he plans to do if the child is, in fact, his, and the man almost always responds by promising that he will provide for the child in that case. Maury then says "When it comes to/In the case of [age and name of child], [man's name], 'You are the father!' or 'You are not the father!'" After the results are revealed, the parties react accordingly; when the man is proven to be the father, the mother often will celebrate, whereas if the man is proven not to be the father, he jumps out of his chair and celebrates while the mother runs backstage crying. Maury follows her to console her, saying "We'll be glad to help you find the father". In either case, the audience cheers loudly for the victorious party, who often celebrates with over the top dancing or gymnastics. A follow-up episode often checks up on the story weeks or months later. Mothers often return on future episodes to test more men.

Polygraph tests[edit]

Some episodes of the series deal with infidelity in relationships. Despite the findings of the United States Supreme Court that "There is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable,"[3] the accused individual is attached to a polygraph machine prior to the show's taping and asked questions about the topic at hand (or will sometimes admit secrets to his/her partner). The person who suspects his or her partner is cheating will explain to Maury his or her suspicions then a video is often shown of the accused partner telling their side of the story and denying the accusations. He or she then comes on stage being loudly booed by the audience. Both parties sometimes have to be separated by Maury or security. When the results are revealed by Maury, he typically says "You were asked if you had sexual intercourse with any other woman during your relationship with (significant other's name). You said no, and the lie detector determined that was a lie/you are telling the truth." If a person is found to be lying, Ralph Barberi, the lie detector administrator, occasionally will appear and explain that the person had "significant reactions" to one or more questions. In rare circumstances, the accused individual would admit his/her affairs while being tested (result: "You admitted to our lie detector administrator you've done so."), or the person refuses to answer a specific question. Other times, an individual will maintain their innocence despite the test results and ask to re-take the lie detector test.

In some cases, Maury and the show's producers would settle the accused in a "green room," where either a buddy or a sexy decoy would appear as another guest of the show in order to get to the whole truth. Additionally, in some cases the person who suspects that their partner is cheating on them will also take a polygraph test asking the same questions; in a few cases, this has brought the ironically uncomfortable situation of the accusing partner being proven to have committed adultery, especially if it was revealed that the person who was originally accused did not cheat on their partner.

Shocking Sex Secrets[edit]

Some episodes of the series deal with individuals who wish to reveal a secret to their loved ones. The segment usually begins with the person wishing to tell the secret on stage with Maury and he/she goes through the story with the loved one being secluded backstage. Next, the wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend is brought out, and soon after the secret is told. The wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend will often walk or run off the stage, with the person telling the secret chasing after them apologizing. Maury follows them to bring them back on the stage. However, it may occasionally result in a positive reaction from the wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend. A video is often shown of the third party involved in the secret apologizing and asking for forgiveness before he/she comes on stages being loudly booed by the audience.

In some segments, the third party involved in the secret may also appear on the show. Secrets revealing a man may not be the father of their children can sometimes result in a paternity test.

Controlling and abusive men[edit]

Some episodes in the series also deal with abusive relationships where men believe it is their right to control and abuse the women they love. In these episodes, women currently in relationships with controlling and abusive men appear on the show for help. These men often say things such as "It's a man's world" or "A woman is here to serve a man", and some say they were taught by their fathers to control women and teach their children likewise. A lot of the times they will emotionally and physically abuse women if they feel the women are not following their rules (e.g., when they can and can't see their family and friends, not allowing them to see other men, how they are to serve the men their food, how the men are to be addressed as, when and where they can sleep, etc.). In some episodes, the men may also inspect their woman's body on a consistent basis to make sure their wife or girlfriend does not cheat on them. These men are also brought to the studio and publicly rebel against their girlfriend, fiance, or wife and refuse to listen to their pleas.

In an attempt to help both the women who are being controlled and to stop the men's controlling ways, Povich brings in a variety of guests, from women who were previously in an abusive relationship to mothers of daughters in abusive relationships; in one episode, a former guest, a man who changed his controlling ways after his first appearance on the show, was brought in. After the show, the men are transported to a location in an attempt to scare them into acting differently; mostly the place was a funeral home (the abused women are in coffins to appear as if they are deceased); other times the place was a homeless shelter. In a few episodes, the places were prisons. Usually, the tables are turned and they are made to follow the rules (e.g., serve the women food in a different manner than their abusive manner).

When the men return to the studio, they often apologize for their behavior. Occasionally, couples return because the men, who stop the abuse, are suspected of cheating on the same women they beat.

"Out of control" teenage girls[edit]

In these episodes, distressed mothers or family members of delinquent teenage girls turn to Maury for help. These teenagers often have issues dealing with drug addiction, promiscuity, prostitution, shoplifting, gang involvement, or the strong desire to become pregnant at a young age. More simply, the show usually deals with violent teens or teens who wish to have a baby (sometimes both). These teens are brought to the studio, where they publicly rebel against their parents/guardians/foster carers and refuse to listen to their pleas. Usually, they'll tell the audience to "Shut Up!", for many reasons. Often the girls wear revealing clothing.

Former prostitutes and teen moms, as well as motivational speakers and police officers often share their stories with the girls, or attempt to motivate them to improve themselves. In recent episodes, Maury recruits a combination of Trisha Goddard (Conflict Resolution Expert), Raphael B. Johnson (Motivational Speaker), and Dave Vitalli (Special Ops Expert) to help reform the teens. Afterward, the girls are shipped to a location in an attempt to scare them into acting differently; sometimes these places have been prisons, other times the girls have been forced to partake in boot camp activities, and often are shown that they could end up dead or homeless if they don't change.

Studios[edit]

For the first 18 seasons, Maury episodes were taped back-to-back at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. The studio shared the facility in the Hotel Pennsylvania with The People's Court until the show relocated studios in 1998, and The Sally Jessy Raphael Show until its cancellation in 2002.

For the 2009-10 season, production was moved from New York City to Stamford, Connecticut, where the series is now taped at the Stamford Media Center, along with The Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show. This move was made in part because Connecticut offered NBC a tax credit if production of these three series was moved to the state.[1]

Studio audience members obtain free tickets to the taping of Maury via the show's official website.

Content editing[edit]

The series is edited to meet FCC regulations for indecency and obscenity, including bleeping of profane language and pixelization of nudity, though other censoring does take place; the series purposefully has guests avoid using their last names, mainly for the protection of minors and outside third parties, and said mentions of last names by guests (except for the show's rotation of experts) are bleeped in line with this policy. Additionally, no "uncut" versions of the show exist.

Internship promoting and telemarketing[edit]

Two well publicized advertising methods on Maury relate to the hiring of interns as well as polling the television audience with the allure of "valuable offers". The latter is also a promotional tactic used on the show Divorce Court.

The show is known for promoting an in-house "intern program", encouraging college students to apply for employment. In a 2010, a Department of Education report indicated:

The talk show "Maury" is abusing government programs sponsored by the Department of Education. This production is attempting to prove that there is an overwhelming demand for interns and has solicited applications from hundreds of different institutions of higher learning. The interns are almost never hired; however, the production has applied under several clauses for government funding under claims that a large number of internships have been granted.[4]

Maury, like several daytime programs, also has a phone-in survey segment, a feature which has drawn criticism from some as the survey also features third-party "valuable offers" which may offer the purchase of some kind of product, but also give an inroad to telemarketers to round do not call lists, as the interaction technically counts as allowing those calls past do not call lists, and may place the number called from on 'do call' phone lists used by the telemarketing industry.

Criticism[edit]

Some critics denounce Maury as being worse than other similar talk shows, such as The Jerry Springer Show. Like such shows, it uses guests' serious problems for the entertainment of the viewing audience, but treated with an insincere sympathy. Whitney Matheson wrote about the show in her USA Today column, "Povich's talk show is, without a doubt, the worst thing on television. Period. Don't be fooled by the pressed shirt and pleated khakis; Maury is miles farther down the commode than Jerry Springer."[5] This was also mocked on a 2002 South Park episode called "Freak Strike".

Spin-off and inspiration[edit]

  • On February 27, 2012, it was announced that Maury regular Trisha Goddard would be receiving her own spin-off series The Trisha Goddard Show, which premiered in syndication in fall 2012.[6] The show aired until May 2014.
  • Though not a spin-off, it has been reported that the tabloid talk/court show Paternity Court, which premiered on September 23, 2013, was inspired by Maury.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Grego, Melissa (February 2, 2009). "'Springer,' 'Wilkos,' 'Maury' to Tape in Connecticut". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Story Tracker". Maury. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ "United States v. Scheffer". 31 March 1998. 
  4. ^ Department of Education, Annual Fiscal Report (2010), pp. 215–289
  5. ^ Matheson, Whitney (December 3, 2002). "There shouldn't be a next time, America". USA Today. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "NBCUni's 'Maury' Spinoff Talk Show 'Trisha' Officially A Go For Fall With 80% Clearances". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  7. ^ "Exclusive: MGM to Launch 'Paternity Court' This Fall - 2012-12-12 22:52:29 | Broadcasting & Cable". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 

External links[edit]