Host Jerry Springer is finally opening up about his controversial talk show.
“The Jerry Springer Show” first aired in 1991 and ran for a whopping 27 seasons before it was canceled in 2018. With almost 5,000 aired episodes, Springer started by focusing on political issues before it turned into more “shocking” stories of exposing cheaters and featuring strippers.
Jerry Springer Admits ‘I Always Knew It Was A Stupid Show’
In an interview with Page Six, the beloved Jerry Springer, now 78, admitted that even though his show was “stupid,” he still had a great time.
“I can’t think of anything more fun,” Jerry recalled. “I mean, I never took it seriously. I always knew it was a stupid show. But it’s fun, and people enjoyed it.” He compared the experience of watching the show to chewing bubble gum, saying, “It isn’t going to save the world, but it’s not going to kill you, either.”
He said that the show had “a democratic quality to it” that introduced the world to all kinds of people.
— Judge Jerry (@JudgeJerryTV) March 1, 2021
“‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Frasier,’ ‘Friends,’ it was always well-scrubbed-looking, upper middle-class people. And that was it, and all of a sudden my show comes on,” he recalled. He said that “The Jerry Springer Show” showcased people who “had never really been on television before,” which is what led to the show’s massive appeal.
Jerry also joked that, compared to social media today, “our show is like ‘I Love Lucy.’”
What Is Jerry Springer Doing Now?
Although “The Jerry Springer Show” wrapped up in 2018, Jerry Springer is still on TV as “Judge Jerry,” which is now entering its third season. The courtroom show often features family members that are suing each other for trivial amounts of money, allowing Jerry to dole out some grandfatherly advice to tackle the drama that led up to the lawsuit.
Jerry described his judging style as “fair” and “grandfatherly,” as compared to someone like Judge Judy, who he says is a “disciplinarian” and “very stern.”
“I am the second parent you go to after that disciplinarian parent says, ‘You’re not having that,’” he joked, adding, “It’s just not my personality. No one would take it seriously if all of a sudden I started [yelling]. A lot of people watched for 27 years my crazy show, but I’m never yelling at the guests. I’m never cursing.”
“So it’s easier to be yourself than to play any other role,” he added. “That’s what I feel, right?”
How Did Jerry’s Famous Talk Show Get Started?
The very first episode of the “Jerry Springer” show debuted on September 30, 1991. It was meant to mimic “The Phil Donahue Show,” which was popular at the time. It first got its start as a political talk show, which featured controversial discussions on topics like homelessness and gun control.
However, in 1994, Springer and producer Richard Dominick were desperate to try to find a way to boost ratings. Viewership skyrocketed after the show became less political and more sensational. Guests started confronting their family members about controversial topics, such as cheating, homosexuality, prostitution, or other polarizing situations. Some encounters on stage turned violent and featured guests pulling each other’s hair or hitting each other with chairs. By 1998, it was even more popular than “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in many cities.
It might have helped that Jerry had his own scandal to help boost ratings.
Jerry Springer graduated from Tulane University in 1965 after majoring in political science. He later earned a Doctor of Law degree from Northwestern University in 1968 and became a political campaign advisor to Robert F. Kennedy. After Kennedy’s assassination, Jerry started practicing at the Cincinnati law firm Frost & Jacobs.
In 1970, he decided to run for Congress. Although he didn’t unseat incumbent Republican Donald D. Clancy, he still managed to secure 45% of the vote. Springer was also an Army Reservist at the time and was called into active duty, where he was stationed at Fort Knox. He resumed his campaign after he was discharged and was elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1971. However, he resigned in 1974 after admitting to soliciting a prostitute. Many felt that it was the end of his career, but he won back in 1975 after he took responsibility for his mistake.
Jerry’s honesty and authentic advice has made him a beloved figure to many audiences around the world.