Bring Back Donahue!


I grew up watching Donahue in my formative years. He created a format that was lively and he actually covered topics of importance. Before Oprah and the countless imitators who latched onto his roaming mic routine, he had used his show to explore subjects that rarely got covered on a daytime talk show.

It was a kick to see this episode from 1995. This is the Phil I loved. Blustery, provocative, entertaining and willing to challenge the audience and the guests.

Heber Jenztsch appeared on this live broadcast along with Pat Jones and the Baptist preacher behind the World Literacy Crusade. One of the stipulations to get Heber there was there could be no critics on stage to confront the Scientologists with facts. Phil had to take on the critic’s role and does a pretty good job.

At the start of the show, Phil tells Heber he can sum up what he knows about Scientology in 10 seconds…then goes on to show he was much better prepared than he wanted let known. Is it a perfect show? No, but it is a good show and a fun show in many ways.

Like John Sweeney from the BBC, Donahue has balls. We need more people like them on TV and I for one would like to see Phil back on the air.

Explore posts in the same categories: TV Broadcasts

10 Comments on “Bring Back Donahue!”

  1. Artoo45 Says:

    Phil could be quite the pitbull, couldn’t he? I admire his ability to keep himself fired-up to stand against the $cienos without descending into the kind of crazy anger that they try to induce in their opponents. I’m surprised, however, that Donohue agreed to do a show in which he was the only voice of opposition, it could have very easily come off looking like an episode of the “Crazy Phil Rails Against the Reasonable Scientologsts” show. That took some mad skills Phil.

    Heber Jenztsch reminds me of a cross between Karl Rove and Dick Cheney . . . without the warmth and charm.

  2. XENU TV Says:

    I was hoping Phil was going to say, “We agreed not to have any critics on stage…but the audience is full of them!” At least the retired cop at the end made a nice capper to the show.

  3. John Says:

    last two YouTube links are the same… you can remove one

  4. Worthy Oriental Gentleman Says:

    What ever happened to Heber Jenztsch? He is my favorite Scientologist… if there isn’t already a Heber Jenztsch fan club, I may start one. Maybe the Comm Ev’d him for showing the truth about Scientology in ways so clear no intelligent (and non-brainwashed) individual could miss it… His KFI appearance remains one of my favorite things on

  5. tartfromhell Says:

    Sorry, I really like Phil, but he doesn’t look good here. He is far too aggressive and people who act like pit bulls tend to automatically give the impression that they are wrong. Jenztsch is far more in control. Sad, since Scientology truly is an evil scam. I’m disappointed.

  6. jim Says:

    I think Phil is great here asking the tough questions! Ultimately though this looks like Heber’s finnest performace (comparitively speaking), he deflects most all of what Phil throws at him! My favorite part was Phil finnaly letting Heber have it when Heber always says time is a horrible magazine for Hitler man of the year, that it is for greatest impact not the best man of the year! When I was in the Org back then it would always be repeated to make Time look bad and no one had the guts to clear the int. Managements MUs! Scared and brainwashed into thinking we were free Ah the good old daysin scn.

  7. likwidshoe Says:

    Look at all of the Scientologists on that show. They all have that goofy cult-like happy look on their faces. Very unsettling.

  8. Chuck Beatty Says:

    Excellent show. I am sure Heber was slapped around by DM after this fiasco. I think only Mike Wallace has one up on Phil.

    After each one of these appearances of the Scientology PR force, they have to judge the pluses and the negatives, and this one isn’t a positive from the inside.

    This was the beginning of the end for Heber, he started going downhill.

    He really started to crack here, if you know Heber. His old style doesn’t work when the world catches up to all of Scientology’s tricks.

    Hubbard really left the movement PRs holding the bag, and if you look historically at the long list of failed PR people in the movement, this show was a big blow to Heber.

    Heber knows he just didn’t do a good job. He was seriously tripped up by the pointed questions, and the public got to express some excellent questions.

    Loved the andience member ex Toronto police official who spoke about the Scientology spying in Canada.

    Thanks Mark for webbing this.

    – Chuck Beatty, ex Sea Org (1975-2003)

  9. Mike ZUnno Says:

    Hi, I am trying to find a copy of an episode of a the Phil Donahue show (NY) circa 1985-1987.The topic of the show was Censorship. A friend of mine who passed away appeared on that show.
    Thanks Mike Zunno

  10. rhill Says:

    This blog entry is old, but I thought I had to provide a bit more related materials. The Phil Donahue Show was harshly criticized in an article published in the Psychiatric Times on May 1991. One of the participant to the show was a representative of CCHR, Dennis Clarke (who has absolutely no credentials with regard to medical matters).

    “Only at the end of the program is Clarke’s tie with Scientology made, when Donahue and Clarke *defend* Scientology’s campaign to have [Prozac] taken off the market.”

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