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Maury Povich says his show has ‘classic Shakespearean’ elements

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Maury Povich says his daytime talk show, “Maury,” owes a chunk of its popularity to The Bard himself.

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“What’s appealing when it comes to watching TV, it’s always been those classic Shakespearean themes, whether it’s love, lust, betrayal, conflict or drama,” Povich, 81, tells The Post. “That’s been the kind of TV that attracts an audience — and has been the key to this show.

“I have such a loyal audience that cuts across all social groups,” he says. “I have kids who DVR me at college, young people who work and DVR me and play [the show] at night, housewives at home. The audience for daytime talk is notoriously ‘old,’ but ours covers all age groups.”

Povich knows a thing or two about audience demographics; he’s hosted two iterations of the show since 1991, when it launched in syndication as “The Maury Povich Show.”

“This is the 30th year, and my research people tell me that I’ve passed everybody else as the longest-running daytime talk show host ever,” says Povich. “When I think about it, Oprah didn’t go this long, Phil [Donahue] didn’t go this long. I said to them, ‘I’m not too sure I like this kind of identification — I gotta live with it!’ ”

“Maury” returns for its 23rd season Oct. 5 on a new home, airing weekdays at 4 p.m. on WWOR/Ch. 9, and with COVID-19 restrictions in place — but with all its familiar elements: paternity tests, lie-detector tests, wild audiences — the whole shebang. The move has already paid dividends; as Povich points out, “Maury” hasn’t missed a beat regarding viewership since moving to Ch. 9, which has aired reruns leading into the Oct. 5 season premiere.

“It’s the way the topics are handled,” he says. “The key to this show, whether it’s lie-detectors, DNA tests, out-of-control kids … within 12-15 minutes we get results so the audience knows what happens at the end of the story. That’s the major reason for our success, truthfully — and the host has to make that connection.”

Maury Povich circa 1991.Courtesy Everett Collection

That connection will be a bit different this season, with Povich shooting his show in Stamford, Conn., sans an in-studio audience and with limited in-studio guests.

“The live audience is a big part of our show, its major heartbeat,” he says. “We’re going to be missing that, but in its place we found out, during the first month of taping [the new season], that it’s more intimate now. There’s room for deeper storytelling and an intimacy even in the virtual world. The audience and guests can get more involved in the stories.”

Povich says in-studio guests will, for now, be limited to people who are not from states that are under travel quarantines.

“Believe it or not, I think the country has accepted this new TV world of ours. I think they’re OK with it,” he says. “I’ve watched some of the daytime shows, including a little bit of ‘The Drew Barrymore Show,’ and they’re finding creative ways to produce them.”

“Maury” is renewed through the 2022 season, and Povich says he has no plans to retire.

“I go contract-by-contract and also take the Satchel Paige view of age: ‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?’ ” he says.

“I’m 81, and as long as I feel good, and I do, I’m going to work.”

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