For those of us who can remember when Oprah first gained massive popularity in the ‘90s, it was also the time of a great influx of ‘90s talk show hosts. EVERYONE had a show, and I mean EVERYONE (even Robin Givens and Tempestt Bledsoe, aka Vanessa Huxtable).
If you were a black woman, had vocal cords and a neck that swiveled, you got a talk show. And shoulder pads, because you couldn’t be a ‘90s talk show host without shoulder pads.
Now that Oprah has left network TV to helm her OWN (pun intended) network, there are a new crop of talk show hosts itching to take her place.
We now have Bethenny (who did a partial swivel on “The Real Housewives of New York”), Wendy (whose neck and wigs both swivel), several “The View” knockoffs (including one that rhymes with the aforementioned title), a dude from Jerry Springer and a few British guys who I’m not actually sure why they have shows (British white guys are genetically incapable of swiveling their heads). Even Ricki Lake, the younger, New Yorkier version of Oprah, is making a comeback.
While we welcome (sort of) the new crop of folks, we do want to pay homage to the talk show sistas whose heads swiveled a path for the talk show hosts of the future.
90s Talk Show Hosts
The Tempestt Bledsoe Show
Host: Tempestt Bledsoe, aka Vanessa Huxtable
Dates Aired: 1995
Signature Show: “I’m a Black Queen, I Deserve A Black King”
Swivel Factor (on scale of 1-10): 2 (and that is only because she had that dope, ahead-of-it’s-time natural hairstyle back in the ‘90s).
Qualifications: Numerous hours advising Rudy not to put shampoo in her hair.
What is She Doing Now: Reality shows, of course, with Dwayne Wayne’s bestie (and her real-life partner) Darryl Bell. Here’s a weird twist: Dwayne Wayne actually went out on a date with Vanessa Huxtable on the show.