Ricki Lake is a daytime tabloid talk show hosted by American actress Ricki Lake.
The show specialized in sensationalist topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience. It was taped at the Chelsea Studios in New York City.
The show debuted in syndication on September 13, 1993 and ended first-run episodes on May 25, 2004 (though the series continued in reruns through the summer until August 27, 2004). The show was renewed for the 2004-2005 TV season, but Lake decided not to continue with the show, opting to spend more time with her family. Sony did not issue any comments when the show was cancelled.
In October 2005 Broadcasting & Cable magazine reported that Lake might return to do a 'new' version of her show. A source said it would be a surprise if there wasn't a deal struck by October 2005. If it were to have happened, it would have likely debuted in September 2006. Ricki did not appear at the 2006 NATPE convention to pitch the proposed program to television stations in the United States in January, 2006, only furthering speculation that there wouldn't be a show. In a 2009 interview on CNN, she was asked about what was next for her. Lake noted that a follow-up documentary is coming out, and that she's in talks to do another talk show.
In 1994, the show was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, but Oprah won the award. Other awards the show has garnered includes the Gracie Allen Award, PRISM Certificates & Commendations, and many more.
Behind the scenes of Ricki Lake
The methodology for securing guests on the show, common to many shows similar to it, was as such:
- Producers would brainstorm and come up with a show title or theme, such as "Sexy Secrets Revealed."
- During an aired episode of the program spots would run for shows in pre-production. The goal was to recruit persons who may have a situation in their life that fits with the proposed topic and get them to appear on the show. An example "Do you have a sexy secret that you're keeping from someone in your life? Is there a friend, lover or family member who needs to know your sexy secret? Call 1-800-GO-RICKI (467-4254) and you could be on the show!"
- Messages left on the voicemail for the hotline would be screened and the most promising prospects would be contacted by a production assistant. The potential guest would be interviewed about their situation and urged to go into detail about how their situation relates to the proposed topic.
- Potential guests would be whittled down to a selected few. The show was then altered in theme, if it had to be, according to the guests who were chosen. The guests, and any other people associated with their story who were scheduled to appear on the program, were confirmed.
- Guests appearing on the show were booked airfare to New York City. They were provided with sedan and/or limousine service between the airport and their home, between the airport and their hotels (for which hotel bookings the company also paid) and between the hotel and the television studio. They were given fifty dollars per day for their time in New York. They were flown in early, on the day before taping was scheduled to take place, so they would have "a day in the city" (on their own).
- The guests were brought to the television studio on the morning of their second day in New York. They were then sent to specific "green rooms," inside which they were briefed in more detail on how the show would be taped. One of the producers then sat down with each guest to reiterate the story the guest would tell, including emphasis on various phrases or statements the guest might have made during pre-interviews which the producer felt would get a good response on television.
- Guests were given an appearance and confidentiality contract to sign. It specified, among other things, that the program being taped had a tentative title and theme, either of which could change at any minute; and that they agreed to this regardless of the outcome.
- The show was recorded in real-time and took approximately 80 minutes to complete. Lake came into the audience for taped segments, and during the paused portion (where commercial breaks were inserted) she left the audience to consult with producers. The final show was aired approximately one month later.
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