Synopsis by Hal Erickson
After eight years away from television, pioneering talkshow host Phil Donahue returned to the fold with this nightly, hour-long cable series bearing his name. Advertised by the MSNBC network as an "alternative" to competing chatmeister Bill O'Reilly over on the top-rated Fox News Channel, Donahue's new series covered much the same ground as his classic syndicated daily. On each program, Donahue interviewed a person (famous or otherwise) who had done something newsworthy, bringing on additional guests to either confirm or deny the primary subject's statements, and allowing the folks at home to call in with questions or observations. Flying in the face of O'Reilly's self-proclaimed "no spin zone," Donahue made no bones about showing his liberal stripes, "If ever there was a time for robust dialogue, it is now. Dissent is more important in a time of war." Phil Donahue debuted July 15, 2002.