The Mike Douglas Show was an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that aired in syndication from 1961 to 1982.
A former big band singer, Douglas moved to television in the 1950s. The Mike Douglas Show started December 11, 1961 in Cleveland as a local show on Westinghouse's KYW-TV (now WKYC-TV), it proved popular and, in July 1963, was syndicated by Westinghouse to all five of its owned-and-operated stations. By 1967 the show was available in 171 markets and seen by an audience of six million viewers a day.
The program featured light banter with guests and musical performances. Instead of an opening comedic monologue (as was the case with The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, for example), Douglas, given his vocalist background, would begin each show by singing a popular song for the audience. Each week would have a different co-host who would appear every day with Douglas. The program was initially aired live on KYW-TV but, after Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1965 called Morey Amsterdam a "son of a bitch," the program then aired on a one-day tape-delay basis. This allowed for the editing-out of any objectionable material. Live broadcasts (with a seven-second delay) were attempted only on a few special occasions thereafter, such as when the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup.
In August 1965, the show moved from Cleveland to Philadelphia to a small basement studio located in the KYW-TV building at 1619 Walnut Street (see photos on right). This studio held 140 seats. In July 1972, the show moved to a new studio in the newly constructed KYW-TV studios at 5th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. That studio ("Studio A") was the first and only studio especially constructed for the program. While the overall new studio was larger, it accommodated only 120 seats. The original musical director in Philadelphia was Ellie Frankel. In 1967, Joe Harnell, an accomplished musician, composer, and band leader took the position of musical director. Harnell continued as musical director through 1973. Joe Harnell was followed by musical director Frank Hunter and the show ended with musical director Joe Massimino.
During much of its time on the air, it remained strong in ratings, consistently finishing among the most popular daytime television shows nearly every season. Douglas took the success lightly. He made a surprise visit to the set of Match Game in 1976, a competing show which managed to score higher ratings than Douglas' program during the mid-1970s, in order to congratulate host Gene Rayburn on making the game show the #1 daytime TV show.
The show's run spanned 21 years and more than 6,000 episodes. In 1978, production of the show moved to Los Angeles, where it remained until the end of the show's run in 1982.
The show featured the first television appearance of then 2 year old Tiger Woods who showed off his swing for Bob Hope and James Stewart. Others who appeared on the show include Malcolm X, Jerry Rubin, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Gene Kelly, Gene Tierney, Lucille Ball, Moe Howard of theThe Three Stooges, Ted Knight, Totie Fields, John Travolta, Louis Armstrong, John Lennon, Minnie Riperton, The Supremes, Gloria Parker with her Musical Glasses, Jay Leno, Joan Crawford, Angela Davis, Mason Reese, Muhammad Ali and many others.