November 10th, 2010
06:53 PM ET
After exiting daytime television in 2002, Sally Jessy Raphael – she of those iconic red glasses – is brewing plans to make a comeback.
Raphael revealed the news on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Wednesday when she, along with other former talk show hosts Montel Williams, Ricki Lake, Geraldo Rivera and Phil Donahue, sat down with Winfrey to discuss life after daytime talk.
Raphael, who hosted a popular talk show for 19 years before calling it quits, said that at first “It was two weeks of great, ‘I don’t have to get up!’ And then it was seven years of, why doesn’t anybody call me?” But now she’s “doing a show about a talk show host who is asked to leave the air and what happens to her after that.”
According to Deadline.com, the show will be called "I'm Still Sally," a half-hour, partially scripted "mockusoap" that follows her attempts to land a new TV gig.
A mashup of "Dirty Jobs," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Comeback," "I'm Still Sally" will reportedly feature 65-year-old Raphael's husband Karl as well as "her young gay assistant Micah and her sassy housekeeper Patricia, all of whom she abuses relentlessly," reports Deadline.
Though she went on to appear on "Hollywood Squares" and season 5 of "The Surreal Life," she has kept a relatively low profile in recent years. "I’ve always been fired. I’ve never left anything," Raphael frankly told Winfrey. "I went to Hollywood and asked people to hire me and they said no. I decided I had better go back to work."
The other news Raphael dished is how she acquired those famed frames.
“Well, I couldn't see the teleprompter. I saw an ad that says, we’ll give you a pap smear and you’ll get a pair of red glasses,” Raphael explained. “They were $19.95.”
But the former talk show host wasn’t the only one divulging personal details. It turns out Ricki Lake, whose talk show targeted a younger demographic during its run from 1993 to 2002, is not only staying busy professionally as a 42-year-old single mom of two, but she’s also fallen in love.
“I found someone who treats me the way I deserve to be treated. He put me on a pedestal,” Lake said. “With my weight issues and beating myself up my whole life I didn’t think I deserved to be treated this way.”
At this stage in her life, she’s “reinventing,” Lake told Winfrey. "It's all about changing it up and putting myself out there in a way people haven't seen before."
As for Phil Donahue, the man Winfrey credits with opening the door wide enough for all of the featured former hosts to walk through, he’s keeping himself busy by accompanying his wife, actress Marlo Thomas (“That Girl”), on her book tour.
Donahue, who started his daytime talk career in 1969, said that when it came time to down the mic in 1996, he felt relief.
“It was a wonderful legacy, but…I ran out of ties,” Donahue joked. So when he heard that Winfrey was taking her leave from “Oprah” after 25 years, he wasn’t surprised.
On his program, “We did almost 5000 shows,” Donahue said. “After awhile the little voice says, sit down, they’ve heard you speak. Everyday you have to jump out of the cake. It’s the everyday that I don’t miss.”
Now, he said, he’s carrying Thomas’ trophies. “People knock me over to get to 'That Girl,' and sooner or later they'll look at me and say, 'Oh, we like you, too.' Fame is fleeting—I ought to know—but it was a wonderful ride."
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