It’s been 20 years since Maury Povich secured his place in pop culture history with his eponymous syndicated television show and the catchphrase, “You are not the father!” The Washington, D.C., native laughingly says he wishes he had copyrighted the phrase.
“People smarter than me do things like that . . . I didn’t know at the time it would become such a catchphrase for everybody,” he added.
Last week, the 78-year-old broadcaster (inset) was honored with the Gold Circle Award from the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which honors those whose contributions span 50 years or more.
The former “A Current Affair” host told Confidential that he felt sad about the falls of Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose in sex harassment scandals.
“I’m sad for the victims and I’m sad for the guys,” he said before explaining that “the media to me is a very intimate business and when you know somebody in the business, you know what you have to go through. And so there’s some mutual emotions — dealing with management, negotiating contracts, doing your job.
“There’s some mutual emotions so therefore when somebody who has lived in your world has done something untoward like that, you’re not only angry at what his actions were, you’re sad. He has a family, he has kids. You can have a lot of emotions.”
Povich, who has been married to fellow TV journalist Connie Chung since 1984, says newsrooms have changed dramatically since he entered the business in 1962.
“I’ve seen a lot of consensual sex in my business,” he revealed. “The lines that are drawn now are different from the lines that were drawn then. There was no such thing as human resources. I can’t imagine a news environment where there wasn’t a lot of consensual sex . . . but I never heard of any unwanted sexual episodes.
“That’s not to say they didn’t happen,” he quickly added.
When the conversation turned on whether consent can really be given when one partner is a superior, Povich agreed: “That definition has basically entered the vocabulary in the last 20 years. If that was the case, why was Bill Clinton still President? Things have changed. And for the better.”
Povich has no plans to retire, but tries to take it one year at a time.
“I was scheduled for assisted living two years ago,” he exclaimed.
With Nicki Gostin