In 1994, at the age of 26, “Hairspray” sweetheart Ricki Lake had one of the hottest daytime talk shows in the history of television.
With a daily audience of 5.8 million viewers after only one year on-air, “Ricki Lake” was second only to “Oprah” among all syndicated talk shows, and she was beating “Oprah” among younger viewers.
But today, the 43-year-old performer, who returns to talk TV this month with “The Ricki Lake Show,” looks back and says: If only she had been able to understand what she had and what she might have done with all her clout at the time.
“I didn’t know. I didn’t really...