Famed talk show host Wally George has passed away in the hospital. He had just completed the 20th year of his show, "Hot Seat", which ran on KDOC in Los Angeles.

Picture taken from the LA Times.

Most of you are probably not familiar with George's show, but his style of "combat TV" (as he called it) really set the stage for confrontational talk shows of the present day.

At the height of its popularity in 1984, "Hot Seat" was a must-see for college students, who waited six months for tickets and hours for a choice spot among the 80 audience seats, where they waved U.S. flags and chanted, "Wah-lee!" on cue. George engaged guests whom he called "liberal lunatics" and "fascist fanatics," including 1960s drug guru Timothy Leary and Tom Metzger, a white supremacist leader.

George called his delivery "combat TV," a phrase he used in an autobiography published in 1999. Johnny Carson, referring to the show's choreographed hysteria, once called George the William F. Buckley of the cockfighting set.

"Hot Seat" hit its stride in late 1983 when avowed pacifist Blasé Bonpane, there to oppose the U.S. invasion of Grenada, erupted in anger over George's taunts, flipping over the host's desk before storming off the show. A clip of the altercation aired on national news programs.

It's a great, hilarious, entertaining show, and reruns are still showing on channel 56 (KDOC) in Los Angeles at 12:30am, Tuesday through Saturday (that is, Monday through Friday nights).



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