Magazine article Variety

When TV Talk Hosts Get Political: A Brief History

Magazine article Variety

When TV Talk Hosts Get Political: A Brief History

Article excerpt

Jimmy Kimmel has made headlines for taking a strong stand in the debate over the latest Republican effort to overhaul healthcare policy. ¶ The host of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" made the issue deeply personal in May when he devoted his monologue to talking about his infant son's need for emergency heart surgery. He delivered an emotional plea for Congress to consider the real-world needs of families who don't have the luxury of a generous health insurance plan, and GOP politicos vowed to deliver a bill that passed "the Kimmel test." ¶ As details of the new Republican bill emerged last week, the ABC late-night host unleashed his fire. He went so far as to call the bill's co-author, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a "liar" for promises Cassidy made during an appearance on the show in which he had vowed to protect coverage for children with pre-existing medical conditions. Kimmel called on viewers to urge their representatives to vote against the bill. ¶ But Kimmel is far from the first entertainment talk-show host to dive into the political fray. Here's a look at past examples of those who used their programs as bully pulpits. By CYNTHIA LITTLETON

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