The Mike Douglas Show premiered on December 1, 1961. The show originated in Cleveland, Ohio on KYW channel 3 and it was sold for syndication to 5 other independent TV stations. Mike’s salary when the show began was $400 dollars a week. In 1965 Westinghouse, who owned the rights to the show, won a court battle with NBC TV and in the wake of the decision they took control of the local station in Philadelphia. They also took Mike and his show to the new station they now renamed to KYW. By 1967 the show was in syndication in 171 TV markets across the U.S. The showed moved once again to Burbank, Los Angeles, California in July 1978 where it remained until the airing of its final episode on November 30, 1981. The show was a talk show with a variety of different types of entertainment. The show had on authors, comedians, musical artists and a fair share of all-around entertaining stars from the world of film and TV. Some of the musical artists he had on over the years were Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, The Boxtops, Herman’s Hermits, Jefferson Airplane, KISS, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, The Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Turtles. He also had a great variety of guest hosts in his absence the best of these was John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono Lennon who co-hosted for a week in 1972.
The show originally began broadcasting live but in 1965 his guest Zsa Zsa Gabor made an off-color remark that upset a lot of viewers and some important people so from that point on the show was pre-taped. She had made some remarks about actor and comedian Morey Amsterdam and stated on live TV that he was “A son of a bitch". Some of the big stars that appeared on the show were Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Joan Crawford, John Travolta, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. One very special episode that a lot of people remember aired on 6 October 1978 with guests Bob Hope then 16-year-old Kristy McNichol, Jimmy Stewart and then 2-year-old Tiger Woods with his dad. Who knew then that his very first appearance anywhere would become an all-time classic episode. Tiger was showing Bob how he could swing a golf club at that early age and the segment made for some very big laughs. Over the years the show and Mike himself won a total of 5 Emmy awards.