The show specialized in topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience.
The show debuted in syndication on September 13, 1993, and ended first-run episodes on May 25, 2004.
but was largely brought up by her paternal grandmother, Sylvia Lake, until Sylvia's death in 1978. Lake made her film debut as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character in John Waters's 1988 cult-classic Hairspray.
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.
In autumn 2012, Lake embarked on a second syndicated talk show project The Ricki Lake Show (dubbed as The New Ricki Lake Show), which aired on weekdays.
In 2013, the series was canceled after one season but Lake won her first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
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.
She also signed a development deal with Gameshow Marathon production company Fremantle Media for other ventures, including creating and producing future programs and projects.
In October 2007, Lake appeared in the Lifetime TV movie Matters of Life and Dating.
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.
Tribeca called it "The Inconvenient Truth of Childbirth".
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.