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Ricki Lake stormed the talk-show arena with an edgy, long-running entry targeting young, mostly female viewers in a conflict-charged atmosphere that led to her being called `the female Morton Downey Jr.'---by Downey.Topics ranged from the silly (`Drag Makeovers,' `Weave Wars: The Final Chapter') to the serious (`Exposed: Women & HIV,' `Kids in Custody' Ricki Lake stormed the talk-show arena with an edgy, long-running entry targeting young, mostly female viewers in a conflict-charged atmosphere that led to her being called `the female Morton Downey Jr.'---by Downey.Lake returned to the talk show platform when she hosted a second talk show which premiered in September 2012 and was cancelled after one season.After her talk show had wrapped production on its final season, Lake went on to host the 2006 CBS limited series Gameshow Marathon, which re-created classic game shows with celebrity contestants.Lake and Epstein also launched My Best Birth.com, an online social network, powered by Ning, intended to allow parents and medical professionals to dialogue about varying birthing options and resources.Lake returned to television on May 11, 2009, succeeding Sharon Osbourne as host for the third season of VH1's Charm School.On November 10, 2010, Lake joined fellow talkers Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, and Montel Williams as guests of Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show, marking the first time those hosts ever appeared together on one show since their programs left the air.In March 2011, reports said that three television studios, Twentieth Television, Universal Media Studios and CBS Television Distribution, were interested in bringing Lake back to the talk-show realm in 2012.
She had a cameo appearance in the 2007 remake of the original cult-classic Hairspray as a William Morris talent agent, and teamed up with star Nikki Blonsky (who played Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 movie musical remake) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (who played Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway musical based on the original 1988 film) to record "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" for the soundtrack. She later reunited with original Hairspray co-star Deborah Harry for the film Hotel Gramercy Park, which was released in 2008.
After making the finals, Lake was announced as the contestant in third place, losing to television personality Rob Kardashian and actor and Army veteran J. The new program has a more Oprah-like format than that of her former talk show. Lake won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2013.
As of February 2014, Lake is working with director Abby Epstein on a documentary about the dangers of hormonal birth control, titled Sweetening the Pill.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Red Envelope released the film in New York, L. and San Francisco in October; it also screened in Australia.
The Business of Being Born included footage and details of Lake's own "life-changing" home-birthing experience and followed a midwife going about her work.
Lake also starred in other Waters films including Cry-Baby (with Johnny Depp and Susan Tyrrell), Cecil B.