Picks and Pans Review: Donahue
by Phil Donahue & Co.
On the tube he comes across as boyish, sincere, quick and unafraid to ask hard questions of his often troubled guests. This autobiography reads as if Donahue dictated it as he rushed from home to office to studio to a banquet for the mayor. The "& Co." in the by-line refers to his TV staffers who add a postscript about the show. Phil begins with a breezy account of his Catholic childhood and proceeds to his problems as a divorced father of four sons and his long, hard-won rise to celebrity. He is excessively cute in describing his meeting with his girlfriend, Marlo Thomas, and too kind to most of the people he mentions, except for a few TV executives described as craven. "Television's problem is not controversy," he writes. "It is blandness." That is not the case with the Donahue show, though in his book Phil seems mostly adorable. (Simon and Schuster, $11.95)
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