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Phil Donahue Does First Show from New New York City Home

January 7, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ There are eight million stories in the naked city. But for the first time in 17 years, Phil Donahue was one of them - his syndicated talk show began broadcasting live from New York today.

″Donahue,″ opening today’s broadcast from outside the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center, began with a shot of Donahue above the famous sunken ice- skating rink. The RCA Building, headquarters of NBC, will also be the new home of ″Donahue,″ which began in Dayton, Ohio in 1967 and moved to Chicago in 1974.

″This is the tallest business address we’ve ever had,″ said Doanhue, pointing to the 70-story building.

He then shook hands with the doorman, went through the revolving doors and promised viewers that, after the commercial break, he’d start the studio portion of the program ″if the elevator works.″

Once inside and upstairs, he laid down his rules to the studio audience, most of whom had written for tickets last spring and summer. Audience participation is a big part of Donahue’s program and performance.

″Be brief,″ he said, and don’t worry about asking stupid questions. ″I hold the record for that.″

He then welcomed viewers - 100 of the 214 stations broadcasting ″Donahue″ were carrying it live - and said his studio was just down the hall from ″Saturday Night Live.″ He said he’s always wanted to ″draw on the richness of the most international city of the world″ and be able to say ... ″live from New York.″

The audience, consisting predominantly of women from the city, New Jersey, Connecticult and Long Island, was quickly drawn into the discussion about the Rev. D. Douglas Roth. He’s the pastor from Clairton, Pa., who was jailed for refusing church and court orders to stop preaching anti-corporate sermons, blaming local banks and steel companies for the area’s high unemployment.

″Donahue″ lawyers could not get permission from the court to do a live remote from Roth’s prison cell, but Donahue did conduct a phone interview with him.

During the commercial breaks, Donahue constantly worked the house, exhorting the audience of about 200 to maintain its energy and involvement. ″How about the cheap seats? Are you gonna getting into this thing? I need you.″

The popular talk show moved to New York so Donahue would not have to commute to be with his wife, actress Marlo Thomas, and for the added professional opportunities of being in hailing distance of the three networks.

At the end of the hour, Donahue judged the first show - and the New York crowd - a huge success.

″Hey, you passed the audition.″

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