If you're a guy and you get a call from The Maury Povich Show, only two possible outcomes exist. Either you're dancing on Maury's stage, or you're shelling out child support payments for 18 years. The show is strangely addictive despite each episode following an almost identical script. They bring out the baby mama while an adorable picture of her offspring displays behind the stage. At Maury's prompting, she talks about the suspected baby daddy and how he abandoned her and wants nothing to do with the baby and claims it isn't his, even though she's 1000% sure it's his. They juxtapose his picture with the baby's and she points out the similarities. "Look at the nose! Look at the lips!" The crowd roars its approval. When they finally introduce the guy, he's showered with boos and jeers.
The guy pleads his case, which usually involves the baby mama being a "ho" and sleeping with everyone. He points to the baby pic and says they look nothing alike. As he's talking, the baby mama screams hysterically and the crowd rains down opprobrium. Finally, "the envelope" materializes in Maury's hands. The all-important DNA test results are enclosed. The crowd falls into a hush. Maury always delivers this part perfectly, pausing in just the right places for suspense. "When it comes to eight-month-old Sarah ... Justin ... you are ... NOT ... the father!" Regardless of the outcome, the crowd sides with the winner. They're worse than fair-weather sports fans. I love it when the guy isn't the father because then you get to watch the same idiots who were just booing and cursing him jump to their feet and dance with him.
His show is a modern classic of TV trash, but what do we really know about the man himself? Here are 15 facts about Maury Povich.
15 He's an Ivy League Graduate
It's easy to look at guys who purvey filth on daytime TV for a living and deduce they aren't very smart. That'd be a misconception. For one thing, who among us wouldn't jump at the opportunity to read DNA tests and lie detector results on stage and make millions of dollars per year rather than having to go to a real job and work for a living? We'd all do it if we're being honest. Guys like Maury, along with his arch-rival Jerry Springer, were smart enough to make it a reality. And both guys have strong education credentials to their name. Springer graduated from Northwestern Law School, while Maury received his degree from the University of Pennsylvania -- not only an Ivy League school but also the largest incubator of billionaires in the world (as of 2017, 25 UPenn graduates have net worths in excess of $1 billion; Harvard comes in second with 22) and the alma mater of the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
14 He's Been in Broadcasting Since 1962
Settling paternity disputes and proctoring polygraph exams for the dregs of society may not seem like a job for an industry veteran. But Maury Povich has been in the game for decades. He was hired fresh out of college to a Washington, D.C.-area radio station, where he immediately posted big ratings as a reporter on the strength of his confidence and smooth delivery. By 1966 he had moved up to doing television in the D.C. market, and the very next year saw him named co-host of his first talk show, Panorama. The show catapulted him onto the national stage, where he received much acclaim. Though he returned to broadcasting traditional news soon thereafter, that first taste of daytime talk show success never left him, and ultimately laid the groundwork for what would become his most memorable work in broadcasting.
13 He's Almost a Scratch Golfer
A scratch golfer is one with a zero handicap. In other words, that means they're really good and can reasonably expect to make par on most holes except at the toughest courses (such as Augusta National). A par score for 18 holes at a typical golf course is 72. By comparison, the average person off the street cannot break 100, and even decent recreational golfers are usually happy to shoot in the 80s. Maury Povich has a 2 handicap on the golf course, meaning his average round is 74. While that score won't be winning him a green jacket in the near future, it's still pretty impressive. Post-divorce Tiger Woods has even struggled to keep his score in that range. Speaking of Tiger, who wouldn't love to see him and Maury team up for a pro-am tournament and a lie detector session afterward? Talk about must see TV.
12 He Covered the JFK and MLK Assassinations
Normally your responsibilities become more significant as you advance in your career. For example, suppose you're an attorney who takes a job with a big criminal defense firm. You don't get assigned the O.J. case when you're fresh out of law school. You're defending DUI and peeping Tom suspects while you cut your teeth. The high-profile murder trials go to the industry veterans. Maury did it backward in his career, though. Working as a reporter in D.C. in his 20s, he naturally covered a lot of political news, and since it happened to be the tumultuous 1960s, a lot of big stories broke while he was on the beat. He covered two of the highest-profile assassinations in modern history, that of John F. Kennedy, Jr., in 1963, and Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. Fast forward 50 years, and he's reporting on whether the 13th guy tested is Kayla's baby daddy...
11 He's Married to Connie Chung
Maury isn't the only member of his household with a high-profile TV job. His wife, Connie Chung, anchored the CBS evening news during the mid-1990s. She's the one who interviewed Magic Johnson when he first went public with his HIV-positive status. But in 1995 she conducted a couple of controversial on-air interviews, one in which she got Newt Gingrich's mother to whisper that her son considered Hillary Clinton a "bitch," and another where she took a sarcastic tone with an Oklahoma City Fire Department spokesman in the wake of the federal building bombing in that city. The fire department interview in particular irked viewers, and Chung was soon removed from her position as a primetime host. Maury met his wife in 1969 when they both worked for a D.C. news station, he as a reporter and she as a copy girl. But he was married to someone else at the time. After his divorce, he reconnected with Chung, and they married in 1984.
10 He Doesn't Know The Test Results Ahead of Time
Perhaps the best part of Maury's show is how genuine he appears when he reads the DNA or lie detector results as the crowd holds its breath in suspense. He always sounds as though he's as surprised by the verdict as everyone else. Turns out there's a good reason for that. Maury finds out the test results at the same time as his guests and audience -- at the moment he rips open the envelope and reads them. This is by choice, he explained. He feels like it makes the show better when he doesn't know ahead of time. His knowledge of the truth doesn't subconsciously influence his line of questioning of his guests. I can't argue with that, though I still find it hilarious how the guests plead their cases so passionately despite knowing that Maury has the test results and nothing they say will change those results.
9 His Salary Is $13 Million Per Year
Why does a guy who's spent decades in the media, is well respected, and has covered some of the biggest news events in generations host a trash TV talk show that caters to people on the left tail of the IQ bell curve? Money talks. Maury may have covered JFK in 1963, but he certainly wasn't making $13 million a year then, and he probably worked a lot more hours than he does now. Maury isn't the only talk show host motivated by cash to trade more illustrious duties for disseminating garbage on daytime TV. Jerry Springer once served as mayor of Cincinnati and for a while was a strong candidate to become governor of Ohio. And make no mistake, Maury does his show strictly for the money. During a friendly round of golf, CBS analyst Gary McCord confided his distaste for Maury's show, saying, "I wouldn't do that show for $5 million a year." Maury responded, "Neither would I."
8 He Once Anchored "A Current Affair"
Before 20/20, 48 Hours and Dateline, there was A Current Affair. Back in the 1980s, the show pioneered the techniques later co-opted by slanted cable news networks such as Fox and MSNBC. The show knew it didn't have the budget or cachet of the big nightly news programs. As a result, it couldn't book the big guests or be the first to break a monumental story. So it took an alternative tactic. It picked a side and unapologetically delivered the story in favor of that side. Like if there was a big controversy between two politicians, A Current Affair would bring in low-level staffers of one of the players and use them to tell the story from that angle. It was total tabloid TV, and it worked. It had something else going for it: Povich, with his avuncular demeanor and calm delivery, lent the show an air of credibility that tends to elude similar programming.
7 He Plays Golf With George W. Bush
When you're good at golf, people want to be seen on the course with you. Sometimes those people are high-profile. Occasionally they even served as president of the United States. We already established that Maury is a 2-handicap golfer, meaning he can hang with all but the best of the best. That ranks him pretty high on the ladder of celebrity golfers. He's shared the links with quite a few big names, but one of his favorite golfing partners for more than three decades has been none other than former President George W. Bush. Bush, like Povich, is no slouch on the links. But his game got rusty for a stretch in the 2000s. After U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, the then-president decided it'd be insensitive to play golf while servicemen were overseas fighting for America. So he quit. He took the game up again after leaving office in 2009.
6 He and His Wife Had A Show Together, But It Tanked
In early 2006, Maury teamed up with wife Connie Chung to host a casual weekend news program. The show, Weekends with Maury and Connie, featured 30 minutes of the pair bantering about the previous week's news stories. It was pretty unmemorable, and apparently its audience -- the few who bothered to tune in -- agreed, as the show barely lasted five months. It debuted in January 2006 and filmed its final episode the following June. The final episode featured Chung singing "Thanks for the Memory", but changing the lyrics to parody the dearth of memories she and Maury made filming such a short-lived show. It was a valiant attempt to sign off of a failed venture in good humor, but it came off as awkward. The clip made the YouTube rounds and drew much public mockery. The show was Maury and Connie's first and last joint venture in broadcasting.
5 He Appeared On How I Met Your Mother
Maury knows he's the kind of public figure who inspires amusement. He carries that torch with pride. So when the producers of CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother approached him about doing a cameo on the show, he happily accepted. In the episode, Maury kept popping up in random places in New York, baffling the show's characters. Everywhere they went, there was Maury. Sometimes it seemed like he defied the laws of physics by being present in more than one place at once. If you're going to run into the same person all over town, unless you're a deadbeat dad trying to duck child support, there are worse people it could be than Maury Povich. He's had similar cameos in the movie Madea's Big Happy Family and on the Adult Swim TV show The Jack and Triumph Show. But his appearance on HIMYM was by far the most amusing.
4 He And Connie Own A Newspaper
Maury and his wife own a ranch in Montana's Flathead Valley, which sits in the middle of the Flathead Forest, roughly 100 miles north of Missoula, Montana, and 150 miles east of Spokane, Washington. They retreat there when Maury isn't working, which is quite often, considering he only tapes his show 26 weeks out of the year. The pair also run a newspaper, The Flathead Beacon, that covers the local area. It's a legit small town paper, featuring breaking news, local sports coverage, an opinion column and a business section. It even has a police blotter, which is highly entertaining. On February 22, 2017, a local resident called 911 asking for Donald Trump's number. On February 13, 2017, someone called to report that a local pastor flipped him off. And then there was the person who phoned 911 on January 29, 2017, to report that kids in the area were throwing snowballs.
3 He Pulls For The Yankees, Nationals and Redskins
I've never understood people who claim to have two favorite teams that play in the same league. Maury claims to like the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, both Major League Baseball teams. Granted, one team plays in the American League and the other in the National League, but still, they're both gunning for the ultimate prize, a World Series title. An easy way to figure out which is your team is to imagine them playing each other in the World Series. Who do you pull for? That's your team. In the NFL, he has only one team, the Washington Redskins, and I was happy to see that he called the team by its actual name and not some politically correct version. He listed nothing for basketball, hockey or college sports.
2 One Of His Guests Had Twins -- With Two Baby Daddies!
One time Maury hosted a chick who'd given birth to twins. The show followed a slightly different format than usual, as the boyfriend in attendance actually wanted to be the father. Problem is, the baby mama had knocked boots with another dude around the time she got pregnant, and didn't tell her boyfriend until after the twins were born. So Maury brings the guy out first. Tearfully, the guy explains he'd loved his girlfriend since the moment he met her and had been over the moon when she'd told him she was pregnant. When he learned of the infidelity, he was crushed. The baby mama comes out on stage, she's also crying, and she apologizes and says she loves her boyfriend. Maury rips open the envelope and delivers the results on the first twin: "Chad ... you ARE the father!" Chad exhales a sigh of relief and hugs his unfaithful girlfriend. Then comes the M. Night Shyamalan twist. Maury reads the results on the second twin, and it's a shocker: "Chad ... you are NOT the father!"
1 Maury IS The Father -- Of Three Of His Own Kids
Maury didn't need a DNA test to confirm he's the father of his three grown children. His two oldest, Susan and Amy, came from his first marriage, to Phyllis Minkoff, which ended in 1979. Then in 1995, he and Connie Chung adopted their own child, Matthew Jay Povich. Unlike many celebrity kids, Maury's children have eschewed the spotlight their entire lives. You won't find them hamming it up on reality TV or "leaking" videos of their intimate encounters. In fact, the internet is shockingly bereft of family photos featuring Maury and his children. For a guy who makes his millions airing out other families' dirty laundry, you have to hand it to him for respecting the privacy of his own family and letting his children grow up leading normal lives out of the spotlight.
Sources: grantland, usmagazine