Maurice Richard "Maury" Povich is an American television presenter, best known for hosting the tabloid talk show Maury.
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I've been in broadcast TV for 50 years. I started on a show called Panorama as a broadcast journalist covering the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate, and more. In the late 80's, I hosted the TV show A Current Affair. After that, The Maury Povich Show ran for seven years, and then in 1998, The Maury Show was launched. And we've had tens of thousands of guests since then, along with tens of thousands of paternity tests.
I'm very proud of the fact that in May 2007, I launched the newspaper the Flathead Beacon (http://flatheadbeacon.com), news for Montana's Flathead Valley, and my clothing line that I launched that is made in America, called Mother Freedom, is made in New Bedford, Massachusetts (http://motherfreedom.com). I'm an avid golfer, and a huge sports fan (especially baseball and football). I'm married to a woman named Connie Chung, who may be one of the great news reporters of all time. I have 3 children - 2 with my first wife, and 1 with Connie. And my adorable dog is named Birdie. He's going to be 4 years old in a month. He's a kind of reddish-brown Golden Retriever, born in Montana where we have a home, and he's a Canadian Breed Golden.
You can follow me on social media at:
Victoria's here to assist me in person. AMA!
Update Well, I'm just shocked at - first of all - how popular this has been for reddit, and I'm just amazed at how knowledgeable the viewers are about my show! I want to thank profusely our new historian, /u/MauryAddict, and I am very touched by how much people truly watch the show in all of its aspects. And wow.
I'm blown away.
Am I the father?
If you wanna be, you can always be!
Maury, you're amazing!
Many years ago you had a segment on your show where you would give away your famous blue sweaters to people who wrote into the show. I wrote you when I was nine years old and never received one. Any way I can score one of those blue sweaters? :D
Edit 4:18pm EST: RIP my inbox. I PMed Maury with my info and I believe Victoria passed my info along to his team as well. As soon as I receive the sweater, reddit will be the first to know :)
Just get me a address.
We'll get one out of mothballs!
Tell her to call our show, we'll be glad to have her back, and do it all over again.
Maury! What's up man, long time watcher of your show. In your opinion what do you think is the most memorable thing that's ever happened on your show?
It's happened twice.
A woman accused a guy of being the father of her twins. And when I opened the envelope - and I don't know the answers before anybody else does - he was the father of one of the twins, but not the other.
And they were fraternal twins. And science says that's a million-to-one shot, that there could be two fathers of twins. And it's happened twice.
So the million-to-one shot has come in twice.
And that's the most surprised I ever was.
Maury - What can you tell us about covering The Kennedy Assassination?
Well, I was a very young radio reporter, in 1963. And I grew up in Washington DC, and that's what happened. I can remember exactly where I was the moment we all heard about it. I was covering a local story at the District Building, which is basically city hall in Washington DC. and my starkest memory of the ensuing days was that night, the radio station asked me to go to Andrews Air Force Base, and I saw Jackie Kennedy come off that plane, in that bloodied suit, and the casket coming out the back of the plane, and... we're talking... over 50 years ago.
I still... I can see that as if it was yesterday.
maury, a while back, you had a guest on your show who was the mother of a 15 yr old girl called victoria who had sex over 300 times and had been caught by her mother having sex in the mom's bed. when she came on your show, she desperately wanted to have a baby. do you know if victoria had her baby, or did she remain a reformed girl after being put through your bootcamp?
girl i'm referring to is here: https://youtu.be/ysC76zBS6YQ
I don't know.
But I have people here who are getting this question, and will try to respond to it. Hopefully we had an effect.
hey, Maury! you're the first television personality I ever followed after Lamb Chop.
how did/do you feel about the parody South Park did of the show?
Well, it was fascinating.
First of all, it was brutally remarkable.
I was taken by it. To the point where I called up the creators, and I couldn't get them, for several days, because I guess they thought I was mad at them. And I wasn't at ALL! I was so humbled by their efforts that all I wanted was a couple of the cartoon cells so I could put them on my wall. And finally, the powers that be answered the call and I have them! And they're displayed prominently in my home.
Hi, Maury! You have been married for over 30 years to Connie Chung. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from the guests on your show?
Well, I'll tell ya - it could apply to the guests on my show. It's okay to argue, and it's okay to have separate feelings from each other, in terms of subject matter, and argue, and things like that. But you've GOT to make up before the head hits the pillow at night.
And also, I've learned (unfortunately a lot of my guests haven't with the lie detector show) you've got to give your significant other a long leash, and have a lot of trust in them, so they can remain independent and you are a couple at the same time.
You manage to be both entertaining and also like a grandfather to the people on your show. how do you manage both of those goals?
Well, I'm very fortunate because all I have is my own instincts to rely on.
And people who know about the history of talk say that since I started my talk show in...whew, 1991... there are 80 talk shows in the graveyard. And we have more young viewers than any talk show in the country. And I think that I just have relied on my storytelling instincts, the fact that I was in news for a long time, the fact that I always wanted to do more about stories than just a minute and thirty seconds on the news. I wanted to delve into stories to find a true meaning. So that's what we do. And I know that there's a whole aspect of entertainment in the show, so that's well and good, but these are serious subjects, and the most gratification that I get is that my guests and viewers have somehow found a way to trust me.
And I don't know how I've earned that trust. But I just think... I have the human instincts that everyone has.
Is the current version of your show what you expected it to be when you first started?
I remember watching you with my grandmother in the afternoons after school, and loving it. What you have on now is so insane - how much of it is real versus scripted?
Thanks for hanging out with us today!
All of it is real. There's not a moment that is not real. There's not a moment that is scripted. I could make a case that we were maybe one of the first reality shows that came onto the scene. The show never started out this way. We tackled a lot of different subject matter that was in the news. We didn't become a show of society behavior for a long time. And once the lie detectors, and the DNA, kicked in, that's the road we took.
How is it possible you are nearly 80 years old?? I hope I'm in your shape when I'm 60!
Well, I mean, I think genes have something to do with it. My father was 92 when he passed away, and he was the sports columnist for the Washington Post for 75 years, and he died the day after he wrote his last column. And my mother lived to 95, and I don't work real hard at exercise, but I work out because I like to play golf. I am a firm believer- and it's becoming more and more popular - the doctors say "Look, if you walk 20-30 minutes a day. That's really good."
Just don't be sedentary. I don't care what you do. Just don't sit around, or lie around.
Do you ever feel like you are about to get punched by the crazy hoes whenever you prove the father of their child isn't who they think it is?
Well, you know, there are times...when you have to learn...the technique of "duck and cover."
But I can read my guests pretty well. And fortunately, believe it or not, even though there's a lot of emotion, somehow they seem to respect me, and they do a lot of things, EXCEPT attack me.
I remember Sholonda has been on Maury 15 times, Simone 14 times, and Marisol 14 times. Simone never found the father of her son, but Marisol found the fathers of half of her kids and I think Sholonda found the fathers of 2 of her 3 kids except the one she tested 17 men for.
Can you please be the official historian of the Maury Show?
Is my underage sister sleeping with my transsexual meth-addicted boyfriend for cheeseburgers? If so, which one?
Well... we've had people... who say that... they've slept for cheeseburgers. I get very distressed about stories like that.
Transgender people usually show up on my show where you don't know whether it's a man or a woman. We love those shows. "Is it a man or a woman?" And I defy anyone to get 10 out of 10.
What was the most disturbing situation or guest that you've met over your career? What set this one apart from the others?
Well, the stories that really get to me are the ones in which I have a 15 year old girl who's trying to accuse a 15 year old boy of being the father of her child. I mean, the teenage pregnancies, and the teenage kids, who have to deal with babies is the most disturbing part of the show. And we have been very involved in the prevention of teenage pregnancy, because of showing what it can lead to. And I'm happy, in terms of our involvement with the prevention of pregnancy people, but at the same time, it's very distressing to me to have these kids on the show.
How do you feel about your image and your line "proved that was a lie" are used so often humorously on sites like reddit?
It's just all instinct.
I mean, "You are NOT the father," "You ARE the father," and "That's a lie!" just came out. It was never written, it was never enunciated to me, it was just the way I responded... to those themes, once we did them. I mean, I guess it's like Donald Trump saying "You're fired" or whatever signature lines from somebody - it's just become part of my demeanor. It's become part of my being. And I see all kinds of ... Christmas cards... "Maury Christmas," "Joseph, you are NOT the father!" and when somebody is lying on a big news story, I see that on YouTube... I see various billboards, so it's almost become part of Americana.
Thanks for doing this AMA.
Important question here. Yesterday on Reddit there was a spirited debate about this question: "If identical twins (M) had a threesome with a girl and she got pregnant, DNA tests wouldn't be able to prove who the father was". Is that true? How would you get to the bottom of this?
I'm thinking about this.
This could be above my pay grade.
I don't know how you would tell the difference. And I would love to be able to call in a geneticist. Because... I'd be very confused.
All I can tell you is... don't do it! HAHAHA!
Thank you for your answer, Maury! You need to do a show like this!
"This week on a very special Maury: She had a threesome with two identical twin brothers and doesn't know which one is the father. Join us as we discover how to solve this question!"
I want to tell you - we would get a prime time, nighttime special for that. If it EVER happened.
Maury! My friends and I love you and have been dying to ask you this.
How many paper cuts do you think you've gotten from opening various envelopes while taping?
Secondly, and least importantly, what do you do if/when you get a paper cut? Do you have to redo the entire sequence or what?
YOU'RE THE BEST.
That's a great... you're showing a great deal of knowledge, because guess what? At least a handful.
No, I just suck on my finger during commercials.
Thank you for the response! What do you think are the biggest factors in the teenage pregnancy issue? I know lack of education and poverty are contributing aspects, but are there other factors that play into this, that people don't generally think about?
I think the number one factor is - young boys are stupid, if they get in that situation, and don't have protection. For girls, I think one of the main reasons they search for getting pregnant and having a child is they're looking for unconditional love, that they're not getting at home, they have problems with their parents, they think that the only thing that will love them unconditionally is a baby.
And that's the worst possible thought. Because what we try to show is that your whole life will change for the worse.
Hi, Maury. Which cities have provided the most entertaining guests for your show?
Well, it's interesting. I've always thought there are certain states that have been popular in terms of our guests. And I would say - first of all - NYC, because we tape in the New York area. So that's been a very popular place for our guests.
Atlanta, Chicago... Texas... California...Florida, definitely Florida... but I would not say that, you know, it's an urban draw. Because many of our guests come from small towns. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've heard "We live in a small town, and everybody thinks she's running around with everybody in the town!" or "Everybody thinks he's cheating on me in our small town!"
So that's why when people say "Where do you get your guests?" and I say "This show is made in AMERICA!"
We get them from everywhere.
Hi Maury, HUGE FAN here! Thanks for doing this AMA I really am excited that youre here answering questions.
I saw an interview with you once where you said you never know the results of the paternity or lie detector tests until you open the envelope. What I want to know is was there any particular occasion where you were particularly shocked? Could you share that story?
Also, you are my spirit animal, and if you ever are considering retirement please give me a heads up. Thanks
So somebody's gonna put me on a cave wall? I might be a spirit animal? I think that's great. Wow.
I think the answer to the last question really answers that one, where I was shocked the most. But I will say that the smartest thing I ever did - and sometimes it's just by pure luck - when I first had the paternity test story, and the producer was briefing me before the story, the first one ever ever did - and so the first time I was briefed, the producer gave me the outline of the story, and I read it, and then she said "here's the result of the test, here's the answer" and I said "I don't want the answer. I don't want to know anything more than what my guest knows, or my live audience, or my television audience. Because I would ask questions differently if I knew the result. And I want to be as surprised as anyone."
Hi Maury, judging by my username, you can tell that I ADORE your show! I am on a mission to watch every single episode ever created!
What do think about women like Marisol, Georgetta, Tabitha, Chakka, Kim, Simone, Telia, Moyisha etc. etc.?
Oh, and don't forget Sholonda and the 19 men she tested for her babies!
You know, it's very interesting you mention all those names, and they all bring memories to me. It's like 30 Sundays hit the calendar, all those names.
My producer had a great idea one time. We've never pursued it, but we should. And that is to bring out a book called "The Maury Book for Baby Names."
All I do is think about those kids.
I wanna tell you something - those women, who come here, searching for the fathers of their babies, they, in a way, demonstrate such courage. They don't do it for money. They just do it because they want - they know that their child has a better chance with two parents. And they are searching for this father. And despite their indiscretions, they still seek their child's father. So that the child will have a better life.
So I give them a lot of credit.
And I'm only hoping and praying that those kids have a good life, even if it's with a single mother.
How do you keep a straight face after some of your contestants 4th or 5th not-the-father?
Hehehe. Well... you know... you hope that the 6th will be.
So I've been asked that question, about how do I do this thing with a straight face. I knew a President one time. And he asked me one time, because he was flipping through stations, and he saw my show, and he said "How do you do that show with a straight face?"
And I said "Well, Mr. President, think of all the things you have to do every day with a straight face."
When are you going to be hosting SNL?
Well, I can tell you that I have appeared on Saturday Night Live once. And it was - gosh, maybe 25 years ago? And Ed O'Neill, who's on Modern Family, was the star of a show called "Married with Children," years and years ago. And he was one of FOX's first hits. And because he was the star, he was asked to host SNL. And he was supposed to come out, and be very excited because he was the first FOX hit. And I kind of interrupted his monologue, because i was doing A Current Affair, which was a FOX show, which started before "Married with Children," and was really the show which paved the way (in terms of money) for the FOX network, and I pushed him out of the way, and talked about a Current Affair.
So that was my only appearance on SNL. According to Lorne Michaels, it went well, and I've never been asked back since.
But they reference me a LOT in Weekend Update!
What has your wife, Connie Chung, been up to lately? I miss seeing her on TV. Good reporter.
Connie has been the main parent in my son's life. She has raised this young 19 year old. He was born in 1995, she went to work for a while at ABC and CNN after a few years of raising Matthew, then she went back to raising him through his formative years, and I think because of the climate of news, and because so many outlets have an agenda, and that news cannot be disseminated the way she grew up in that business, taking a very objective and observant attitude, whereas now everyone seems to have an agenda for their programming - she's kind of glad she's out of the game.
If she could find a way to get back in a situation which she feels is appropriate, she would do it.
Hi Maury, you rock! Thanks for doing this :-) How did the baby daddy shows start and what is the highest number of possible baby daddies in the show's history?
Well, I don't know. I think my producers just came to me with the idea. I think when we first started the show, we were not as...edgy? As the show has become, in terms of our themes. And the paternity shows have proved so popular, because you have all this drama, and it's all wrapped up, with a conclusion, in 12 minutes. And I think we just tried it blindly to see how it would go, and it's been a huge success.
The highest number? We've had one person that's been well in the teens. She's been back something like 14 times. And I don't think she's ever found the father of at least one of her children.
what is your favorite charity?
I have several, but I'm a huge believer in education. Early education, college education, I'm a huge supporter of charter schools, I give a lot of money to my university and my high school, so that underprivileged kids from those towns are able to attend the best schools. I'm a huge supporter of the National Adoption Center, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, because Connie and my great joy, our son, is adopted, and we know how much of a gift adoption can be.
Hey Maury, I was just wondering whatever happened to D. West, the guy you used to have on the bad kids/abusive husbands episodes?
Also, what would you say is the most memorable moment you've had hosting your show?
D was a terrific part of the show for many years. He was great with those kids, those out of control kids that we used to have on. I think that what happened was he moved into a different direction. He wanted his own show, so he pursued that on his own.
What was it like working with the 30 Rock crew?
Well, it was - first of all - I was touched by the fact that they asked me. Tina Fey has told me that it was one of her absolute favorite episodes. It's an episode in which Tracy Morgan was the illegitimate child of Thomas Jefferson, who was played by Alec Baldwin, and Sally Hemmings was played by - I can't remember who played her - and Alec and Tracy were at my show, and we did it on the set, and I just, I mean, I was just blown away that this hip, primetime sitcom would use me. And when Tina - at some point I saw her later - said it was one of her favorite shows I was just blown away.
Do you run the paternity tests twice to help eliminate false-positives and false-negatives? Or do you only do it at the insistence of the guests or not at all?
I can tell you that maybe - MAYBE - we've done 5 tests again, only because of the insistence of the guests. And it's never gone the other way.
I mean, when they say 99.999 - they're not kidding.
Hello Maury, once in a while your show will feature past guests who may or may not have turned their life around since being featured. What is your favorite success story?
We have had - I think my favorite success stories are two, just thematically.
One in which the father has denied being the father, was proved to be the father, and they get into the child's life. And the second is that young teenager who ran in the streets, who wanted to get pregnant, or wanted to run away and be a stripper, turned their life around and went back to school and didn't get pregnant and is living a productive life.
Those are my favorite success stories.
How has the landscape of daytime tv changed since you were first on the air?
Well, what's happened in daytime TV is that there are less and less traditional talk shows.
And when I say "traditional" - like when Oprah was on the air, and back in the 80's, there was no only Oprah, there was Phil, there was Joan Rivers, there was Jenny Jones, there was Sally Jesse Raphael - MANY shows to pick from. And the daytime audience is unfortunately shrinking. So there aren't that many shows that can garner an audience. And the "traditional" show - where you have a show that has a variety, celebrities, cooking food, human interest stories - you don't have as many shows. Ellen? Yes. Maybe Steve Harvey, you could say. Meredith's is out there, but it's a tough market. And in the traditional way, that's all there are.
So you've got to have some kind of signature. Some kind of... uniqueness. In order to survive. And fortunately, we've had it.
Look - no television researcher could ever explain my show.
I've been on the air longer than anybody out there.
I am older than anyone out there.
And I have the youngest audience of anybody out there.
I mean, that's an inverse equation. Nobody can figure it out. And quite frankly - I don't want to figure it out.
Maury - if you couldn't be in your current line of work (or anything TV related, for that matter) what line of work would you want to be in?
I was a dreadful student.
And one of the reasons I think I was so bad was that I had very few teachers that I remember. And so I really think that I could teach. But I don't think I could teach with a huge syllabus.
I think I would be more of a storytelling teacher than a teacher who gave out huge reading assignments.