Sally (1983 TV series)

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Also known as The Sally Jessy Raphael Show
Genre Talk show
Presented by Sally Jessy Raphael
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 19
No. of episodes 3,820
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time

30 minutes (1983-c.1989)

60 minutes (c.1989-2002)
Original network Syndication
Audio format Stereo
Original release October 17, 1983 (1983-10-17) – May 24, 2002 (2002-05-24)

Sally (originally titled The Sally Jessy Raphael Show) is an American syndicated tabloid talk show that was hosted by radio talk show host Sally Jessy Raphael. It originally was a half-hour local St. Louis television program, debuting October 17, 1983, and ran in syndication until May 24, 2002, with repeats running until September 6.


Sally Jessy Raphael is the first audience-participation, issue-driven talk show to have a female host, predating Oprah by 3 years.[1] The program was an iconic part of the tabloid talk show genre that pervaded daytime television throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s.[2]

When the show started out it covered topics such as people with extreme religious beliefs, but in the later shows Sally and her after specialist Pat Ferrari moved on to more personal family matters such as pregnant and/or out-of-control teens.[3] Topics of the show varied wildly, from the controversial and hard-hitting stories to more lighthearted fare such as hypnotists getting guests to do funny gags. Famous con man Steve Comisar appeared on Sally as a fraud prevention expert, under the name Brett Champion.[4] As a result, when content ratings were introduced in the 1990s, the ratings for Sally varied widely from episode to episode, from TV-G to TV-14.[5] Drag queens were frequently featured on the show, usually in fun, and some even dressed as Sally impersonators. The show that garnered her largest ratings was dedicated to women with large breasts.[6]

In the early years of the nationally syndicated run, Sally Jessy Raphael remained a half hour show, but in 1986, Raphael expanded production of each episode to an hour's length. However, broadcast markets were allowed to retain a half-hour packaging of her show, which most opted for, especially since stations already had successful half-hour entries, no matter local or national, scheduled before or after Sally. The 30-minute edits resorted to running the closing credit crawls before segments wrapped up, often as guests still had the floor. While only a select few markets picked up the full-hour Sally shows in the 1986-87 season, an increasing number of stations made the option over the next few years, especially as networks started to free up their daytime slots. For example, in January 1989, WCVB-TV in Boston, which was currently airing the 30-minute Sally broadcasts at 11 a.m. (having previously aired them in late night slots from 1984 to 1987), opted to go with the hour-long version when the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope, which WCVB aired (out of network pattern) at 11:30, was canceled. By 1990, all stations that carried Sally were airing her shows for 60 minutes.

From the summer of 1987 through August 1989, the show originated from the studios of New Haven, Connecticut's WTNH (Channel 8), where one large studio of the ABC affiliate's facility was divided to house both the talk show and WTNH's news set. In August 1989, Sally moved into the Unitel facilities in Manhattan, also home to MTV, and later, Rush Limbaugh. In 1998, the show moved to new production facilities in the former grand ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania (which had been modified as such by NEP Broadcasting), also in New York City, where it remained until its cancellation in 2002, sharing the space with sister series Maury with differing sets and studio layouts.[7]


The show was canceled due to low ratings, as well as the fading popularity of the genre as a whole, in 2002.[8]


The show was distributed by the following companies during the show's run:

In popular culture[edit]

The children's show, Sesame Street parodied this talk show and its host as Sally Messy Yuckyael, a Grouch character.[9][10][11]

The talk show was part of a fictional storyline in Season 2, Episode 13 of The Nanny called 'The Strike'.[citation needed]


External links[edit]