A variety show is exactly what the name implies—a show which features a variety of different types of entertainment in any given episode. Typical variety show mixtures might include sketches, talk, musical acts, stand-up comedy monologues and even so-called "variety acts," which might include anything from plate spinners to ventriloquists to magicians to jugglers to trick-shot archers. Variety shows were most popular during the Golden Age of Television, when they dominated prime time and were hosted by such personalities as Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle and even Frank Sinatra, but they are still very popular, although the term has passed out of common usage. In modern television, variety shows with extended talk segments (such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman, or even daytime versions such as Live with Regis and Kelly) are more often called "talk shows," and variety shows which spend the majority of their time on sketches (such as Saturday Night Live, Chappelle's Show and MADtv) are often called "sketch comedies," although both terms are technically inaccurate.
See the Variety category for a list of variety shows.