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Gab and Garb : Talk is cheap but TV hosts don't have to look that way. We rate who's tuned in and who needs adjustments-- sartorially speaking.


The airwaves are abuzz with the sound of talk, talk and more talk. For veterans Oprah and Geraldo and their many daytime TV disciples (we've lost count), that's hundreds of wardrobe changes a week. And as they parade up and down the aisles, their clothes come under as much scrutiny as their outrageous guests (most of whom deserve to be zinged for the tacky, dingy clothes they wear while basking in their 15 minutes of fame).

Among the latest purveyors of gab and garb are Carnie Wilson, Danny Bonaduce, Tempestt Bledsoe, Mark Walberg, Lauren Hutton and Gabrielle Carteris. We're not sure how they're faring against Ricki (and Charles and Montel and Jerry . . .) in the ratings race, but we do know how they're holding up in the wardrobe wars. So settle into your favorite chair, kick off your shoes and tune in as we bring you today's straight-from-the-hemlines topic: "You May Think You're a Talk Show Host Who's All That . . . BUT . . . Where Did You Get That Outfit?"

Rating: 4 microphones

Show: "The Montel Williams Show"

Host: Montel Williams

Air time: 4 p.m., KNBC-TV Channel 4

The Look: Always looking as if his clothes just came off the ironing board (a holdover, no doubt, from his former life as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer), Montel is an eclectic, elegant dresser. He's a detail man: print ties--flowers, abstracts and geometrics--always worn with striped shirts; patterned socks with shoes so shiny you can see your reflection; vests with zippered pockets; vests with Edwardian collars; vests that tie, snap and button in the back, and striped band-collared shirts (as seen on "Daughters Who Hate the Sleazy Way Their Mothers Dress"). One favorite look is a double-breasted charcoal gray Joseph Abboud suit worn with a pale blue shirt--with a spread collar so smooth the tips curl ever-so-slightly--and blue and gray flower print tie.

Signature Style: Collarless shirts and vests.

Confidential to Montel: What can we say? Montel, you are all that!


Rating: 2.5 microphones

Show: "Ricki Lake"

Host: Ricki Lake

Air time: 10 a.m. (repeat) and 5 p.m., KCOP-TV Channel 13

The Look: In her third season, former heftyweight Ricki has gone chic and sporty, trading in that dowdy college-girl-on-a-budget look. Now it's miniskirts, pantsuits and sexy dresses in velvet, wool and satin. She hits with a cropped lipstick-red jacket over a pleated mini kilt, but misses with a brown charmeuse blouse worn with a skinny belt over a black charmeuse mini. Ricki gets the prize for best makeup--heavy black liner for glamour-girl eyes.

Signature Style: A study in basic black--pants, velvet jackets, jumpers, blouses. Must be from living in New York all this time.

Confidential to Ricki: You've got the style down, now just punch it up with a little color and you'll go, girl!


Rating: .5 microphones

Show: "The Jerry Springer Show"

Host: Jerry Springer

Air time: 11 p.m., KCAL-TV Channel 9

The Look: Tired, one-suit Springer attire that ought to be retired.

Signature Style: Dark suit, light-colored shirt, drab tie, moppy hair.

Confidential to Jerry: Hire a stylist.


Rating: 2 microphones

Show: "Danny!"

Host: Danny Bonaduce

Air time: 1 p.m., KCOP-TV Channel 13.

The Look: Danny pulls off his post-"Partridge Family" look with casual cool. On a recent show titled "Hooked on Looks," Danny admitted to spending $3,000 on "brand-new teeth" and confessed: "I own one tuxedo. I own jeans and T-shirts. These clothes I get from the show." Well, no wonder you're stylin', buddy. At the time Danny was in a gray mock turtleneck, dress slacks and a glenn plaid, two-button blazer--a guy-on-a-date style if there ever was one.

Signature Style: Blazers (usually plaid) over buttoned-to-the-neck knit shirts and jeans.

Confidential to Danny: Stay away from that black leather vest with kangaroo pockets over a black and white plaid shirt--the one you wore on a show about daredevils. Yes, it was blaring, er, daring, but don't even go there.


Rating: 3.5 microphones

Show: "Lauren Hutton and . . . "

Host: Lauren Hutton

Air time: 1:30 a.m., KCAL-TV Channel 9

The Look: Model-turned-actress-turned-professional talker Hutton is a study in simplified chic. Her elegant Giorgio Armani jackets and blouses suit her less-is-more style. Makeup is minimal (pale pink lips, neutral eye shadow), hair hangs calmly to her shoulders, and jewelry is nonexistent. True, the lovely Hutton needs little embellishment, but on this weird, dimly lit techno-set she can look washed out.

Signature Style: Hutton's array of Armani jackets runs the gamut from bright coral to basic black, notch collar to collarless. Since she's shot only from the waist up, it's good she's gone for the best.

Confidential to Lauren: C'mon, would it kill you to wear a little pair of earrings or a string of pearls once in a while?


Rating: 1.5 microphones

Show: "Tempestt"

Host: Tempestt Bledsoe

Air time: noon, KCOP-TV Channel 13

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