Maury Povich responds to criticism he’s ‘exploiting’ his guests

After 30 years on the air, Maury Povich’s daytime talk show, Maury, will soon administer its last paternity test in September. And despite criticism he’s faced, the host feels good about what he’s accomplished.

“I’ve had these critics over the years say I’m exploiting these people, taking advantage of them,” Povich told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Wednesday. “They can take that tack. But I feel there’s a [greater] good. And I prove that. I bring these guests back 15 years later and find out that the guy did get into the kid’s life, got together with the mother and they had more kids and the child ended up with a good job… There are a lot of good endings with these stories. I’m not saying it’s the majority of them. But a significant amount shows that the stories and results have been helpful.”

He explained that his objective was more than on-air drama. (Although there was some of that, such as him not wanting to know test results ahead of the taping.)

“Yes, there are some theatrics, and I accept it because I have a goal in mind. I’ll take it because I’m looking for the truth,” said Povich, who was nominated for the award for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2020. “If I can prove someone is the father of this child, that child will have a better chance in life with two people, two parents.”

Over the years, he’s encountered multiple generations — up to three — of fans.

“I was able to get as close and intimate with my guests, my audience and my viewers as anyone who has done this type of show,” he said. “I appreciate the faith and trust they had in me.”

His retirement is beginning six years after he first wanted it to, but executives at NBCUniversal persuaded him to stay by noting that he would have the longest-running TV daytime talk show ever if he stayed through this season.

Now, though, he said, “I have no more mountains to climb.” He plans to leave the medium for good.

“My hero throughout my entire career was Johnny Carson. I knew him a little bit. The way he went out was the right way. He was never seen again,” Povich said. “I have no desire to be on TV again. This is the end of a great job, and there’s no reason to try something else. We’ve seen too many athletes try to hang on too long. I don’t want to be in that company.”

Instead, Povich plans to spend more time on the golf course and working on a weekly Montana newspaper that he and his journalist wife, Connie Chung, own near their ranch there.

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