Jerry Springer reigned supreme and became a staple of 90s television as a buzz word for trash and over the top programming.
Every day, Springer would gather absurd characters and exploit their dysfunction for a live audience. The daytime hit earned even more popularity while in syndication. However, Springer doesn’t look back at his talk show legacy with pride.
When asked if he crowns himself as the “granddaddy of reality TV,” Springer wasn’t so sure of the title. “No, I’d just apologize,” he said while on Beyond The Velvet Rope.
The Jerry Springer Show remains a pop culture phenomenon and existed during a time when daytime reality drama was at its peak. Springer’s apology seems to have been made in jest, but it was clear that he carried some regret.
“I’m so sorry. What have I done? I’ve ruined the culture. I just hope hell isn’t that hot, because I burn real easy. I’m very light-complected.” Springer calls himself a person who “got lucky,” adding that he never had “show business” aspirations.
“I started out being a lawyer and working for Bobby Kennedy,” he said. “My background is political and legal. And then after being mayor, I was offered the job to anchor the news for the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. I did that for 10 years and that was a kind of, rational transition.”
He called the Jerry Springer Show “pure luck” and explained how he snagged the gig. The station he worked for owned talk shows, and when an opportunity presented Itself, he took it.
In 1999, a 15-year-old boy in Florida was charged with the sexual battery of his eight-year-old half-sister, telling detectives that he had learned about incest from The Jerry Springer Show. A year later, the subject of a segment called Secret Mistresses Confronted was found dead hours after her episode was broadcast. Her ex-husband, who had appeared with her onscreen, was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
But the show ploughed on regardless. The same year as the “mistresses” episode, Springer signed a new $30m contract. He spent the next decade churning out episodes like “Oops … I Had Sex with a Tranny!”, “Midget Madness!” and “You’re a Virgin & I Can’t Wait”.