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By Laura Linger

Most popular talk shows today on American airwaves

Partly to learn something about the human existence, partly perhaps to make oneself feel better about life choices made and paths taken, the always-entertaining American talk show is a stalwart on our airwaves during the day and beyond.

A wide variety of talk shows appear on television sets today. The first type is the panel show. Here, the viewing audience is treated to a number of opinions on a wide variety of topics. Often what results is hilarious; more often than not, there is controversy. In its 12th season, "The View" is a panel of five female co-anchors from very diverse backgrounds. On "The View," politics are often discussed, along with celebrity gossip and controversial topics of the day, such as breastfeeding.

Other panel talk shows include "The Doctors," "The Chew," and "The Talk." "The Doctors" is a spinoff of the very popular "Dr. Phil" program and presents valuable medical advice in a friendly, easily understood manner. The topics on "The Doctors" are usually brought up by the viewing audience, either in person or online. "The Chew" is entirely focused on food and the many roles it plays in our everyday life. Popular topics are new trends in food, food safety, food handling procedures, and the importance of food and the family. Its panel is headed up by celebrity chef Mario Batali. "The Talk" is based on a group for young mothers. The group discusses family issues, celebrity gossip, current events, and personal stories, all from "a mother's point of view."

Single-host talk shows with a medical or spiritual emphasis are also very popular. Dr. Phil McGraw, mentioned before, has enjoyed a lengthy run after spinning off "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Dr. Phil's shows focus usually on personal enrichment and the improvement of family dynamics. Dr. Oz, another spinoff of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," features accomplished physician and published author, Mehmet Oz. He focuses on medical advice, spiritual enrichment and tips on healthy living.

There are also a number of talk shows that are purely for entertainment value. Steve Harvey, the popular comedian, does focus on self-improvement somewhat on his program, but everything is presented in a humorous vein. Harvey also sometimes features celebrity guests and gossip on his show. Wendy Williams is much the same way. One of the most popular features of Williams' program is her celebrity gossip segment, where she "dishes" on the bits of the day. Ellen DeGeneres has a very popular program, "Ellen," which touts itself as a "negative free zone." On Ellen, one will find a melange of celebrity stories, real-life stories, musical numbers and games that involve the audience. Audience involvement is also an important aspect of "Maury," hosted by Maury Povich. Guests have a tale to tell, usually involving romance gone wrong and paternity in doubt. Lie detector tests and DNA tests to clarify matters for guests. One of the most popular statements on Maury is "You are the father," or "You are not the father." Regardless of the results, the audience reaction is always an animated one.

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