Geraldo Rivera Skinhead Brawl
January 9, 2012 by staff
Geraldo Rivera Skinhead Brawl, Geraldo is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Geraldo Rivera that aired in syndication from September 7, 1987, to June 12, 1998. On the last two seasons, it was known as The Geraldo Rivera Show. Both titles were produced by Investigative News Group in association with Tribune Entertainment.
The title Geraldo was used on the first 9 seasons. It led to Newsweek’s characterization as “Trash TV”. The show had many guests during its long run including Dionne Warwick, Tonya Harding, Gary Coleman, Bern Nadette Stanis, Jeanne White Ginder (mother of AIDS activist Ryan White), Kathy Garver, Diandra Newlin, Peter Tork, Howard Stern, Alison Stern, Margaux Hemingway among many others.
Although public perceptions in the show’s first season were leading to this dubious title, the episode that solidified Geraldo as “Trash TV” was the November 3, 1988, episode involving white supremacists, anti-racist skinheads, black activists, and Jewish activists. A confrontation between John Metzger (the son of Tom Metzger) and Roy Innis (in which Metzger goaded Innis by referring to him as “Uncle Tom”) led to a full-out brawl with chairs hurled and punches thrown. Audience members, several stage hands and Rivera himself got involved, with Rivera throwing a few punches at a white supremacist. In the process, Rivera was struck in the face and wound up with a broken nose. He did not press charges, saying he did not wish to be “tied up with the roaches” (meaning white supremacists).
The ratings for this show went through the roof as news of the fight attracted attention to the episode even before it aired.
From that point on, the less graceful side of society’s issues, and juicy celebrity exposes were the norm, but no other future incident matched the heated fist-fight of season two. Geraldo’s symbol in the grand scale of talk shows became typified by what opened each show: the image of a generic tabloid magazine cover displaying images of the day’s subject with a screaming headline accompanied by the show’s scripted logo (Geraldo’s handwritten signature). This practice paved the way for later talk shows using creative and somewhat drawn-out titles for their show topics (The Jerry Springer Show, Jenny Jones and Ricki Lake were among the programs to jump on this bandwagon).
From 1996 to 1998, it was known as The Geraldo Rivera Show, and changed from the established tabloid format to a more stubbed, serious show. Gone was the opening checkout-counter tabloid graphic, replaced with a full opening sequence that played up Rivera’s caring and sensitive nature (in one shot, he is locking lips passionately with his then-wife). Summer 1996 promos for the new season showed Rivera also playing with his two young daughters. He was seen in a 1997 PSA about children. It was similar to the old Geraldo title.
In 1998, David John Oates starred on the show, playing reversals on Bill Clinton
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