Phillip John “Phil” Donahue (born December 21, 1935) is an American media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show.
The television program, also known as Donahue, was the first talk show format that included audience participation. The show had a 29-year run on national television in America that began in Dayton, Ohio, and ended in New York City in 1996.
His shows have often focused on issues that divide liberals and conservatives in the United States, such as abortion, consumer protection, civil rights and war issues. His most frequent guest was Ralph Nader, for whom Donahue campaigned in 2000. Donahue also briefly hosted a talk show on MSNBC from July 2002 to March 2003. In 1996, Donahue was ranked #42 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
Oprah Winfrey said “if it weren’t for Phil Donahue, there never would have been an Oprah Show!”