Morton Downey Jr. | 'The Morton Downey Jr. Show,' 1987

On air for: Two seasons. Cause of cancellation: "The Morton Downey Jr. Show" expanded to national syndication in 1988, but distributors had trouble marketing the show to television stations because of its controversial nature. Downey suffered a viewership decline in his second year as host, leading to cancellation in 1989. Most memorable moment: Downey enjoyed provoking his guests, once in a while to the point of physical altercation. In one taping of his show, an increasingly heated exchange between Al Sharpton and Congress of Racial Equality National Chairman Roy Innis resulted in Innis knocking Sharpton to the floor. Where he is now: Downey was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1996. The man who would chain-smoke throughout the duration of his show ended his membership with the National Smokers Alliance and became an anti-smoking activist. Downey continued to speak publicly against smoking until he succumbed to his cancer in 2001.
Gaylon Wampler / Associated Press
Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World