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Gerald Norman "Jerry" Springer (born February 13, 1944) is an Americanmarker television presenter, best known as host of the tabloid talk show The Jerry Springer Show since its debut in 1991. He is a former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Ohiomarker, a former newsreader and a musician.

Early life

Springer was born in Highgatemarker in Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker. His parents, Margo (a bank clerk) and Richard Springer (owner of a shoe shop), were Jewish refugees who escaped Germanymarker (from the city of Neustettin, now Szczecinekmarker, Polandmarker). In January 1949, Springer emigrated with his parents to the United States, settling in Kew Gardens, Queensmarker, New York. He and his sister Evelyn were raised in a small four-room apartment. Springer's parents loved to talk politics, and at a young age, he became interested in the subject. In fact, one of his earliest memories about current events was when he was 12 and watching the Democratic convention on television where he saw, and was impressed by John F. Kennedy. (Powers and Johnson, 1998; also, Waldman, 2006) Springer attended Forest Hills High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane Universitymarker in 1965, majoring in political science. He spent two summers as a counselor at Camp Skymount in Green Lane, Pennsylvania, where he demonstrated his showmanship. He earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Northwestern Universitymarker in 1968.

Springer became a political campaign aide to Robert F. Kennedy. After Kennedy's assassinationmarker, he joined the Cincinnatimarker law firm of Frost & Jacobs, now Frost Brown Todd.

Political career

In 1970, Springer ran for Congress. He failed to unseat incumbent Republican Donald D. Clancy, but garnered 45% of the vote. He had previously spearheaded the effort to lower the voting age, including testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of ratification of the 26th Amendment.

Springer was elected to the Cincinnatimarker city council in 1971. He considered resigning in 1974 after admitting to hiring a prostitute. The episode was uncovered when a police raid on a Fort Wright, Kentuckymarker "massage parlor" unearthed a check Springer had written for its "services". Springer came clean at a press conference. His honesty helped him win back his seat in 1975. In 1977, he was chosen to serve one year as mayor by the City Council.

In 1982, Springer sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. TV commercials for Springer's campaign referenced his use of a check to pay a prostitute, saying that he wasn't afraid of the truth "even if it hurts". He failed to win the Democratic party's nomination, and his political career was put on hold. Springer considered running for the United States Senate in 2003, but backed down due to negative affiliations with The Jerry Springer Show.

Politics to journalism

Springer's broadcast career started while he was still mayor of Cincinnati, with album-oriented rock radio station WEBN FM, which was noted for its laid-back and irreverent radio format. The station featured commentaries by Springer under the banner "The Springer Memorandum." The popularity of these commentaries helped launch his broadcasting career.

Springer was hired as a political reporter and commentator on Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWTmarker TV, which had, at the time, the lowest-rated news program. Later, having been named primary news anchor and Managing Editor, he needed a broadcast "catch phrase" in the model of other great newsmen. With the help of some others at WLWT, he created his signature line: "Take care of yourself, and each other." Within two years he was Cincinnati's number one news anchor, along with partner Norma Rashid, and for five years, the most popular one in the city, garnering ten local Emmy Awards for his nightly commentaries. It was a position he held until January 1993.

Springer's commentaries on WLWT were frequently satirized by Cincinnati radio personality Gary Burbank.

In 1997, the Chicago-based NBC-owned station WMAQmarker hired Springer to serve as a news commentator. However, this proved to be unpopular among viewers, as it resulted in the resignation of Ron Magers and long-time news anchor Carol Marin. After performing only two commentaries, Springer resigned as commentator.

The Jerry Springer Show

The Jerry Springer Show debuted on September 30, 1991. It was developed by WLWT-TVmarker to replace its Phil Donahue Show (coincidentally, the style that Springer was in was similar to Phil Donahue, and both were produced by Multimedia Entertainment). It started as a politically-oriented talk show, a longer version of Springer's commentaries. Guests included Oliver North and Jesse Jackson, and topics included homelessness and gun politics.

In the spring of 1994, Springer and his new producer, Richard Dominick, revamped the format of the show in order to garner higher ratings. The show became more and more successful as it became more and more lowbrow, with an emphasis on infidelity. Its guests were typically lower class, minimally-educated, blue collar people confronted on a television stage with a spouse or family member's adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, transvestism, hate group membership, or other controversial situations. These confrontations often led to shouting, profanities, chair-throwing, fist-fights, and removal of clothing. Female guests also receive 'Jerry Beads' for exposing their breasts to the studio audience, in the style of Mardi Gras revelers. The show garnered huge ratings, and lots of attention. By 1998, it was even beating Oprah Winfrey in many cities, and was reaching more than 6.7 million viewers. (Waxman, 1998)

On July 10, 2002, the sons of guest Nancy Campbell-Panitz - who was murdered by her ex-husband after they appeared on a May 2000 episode with his girlfriend - filed suit in Sarasota County against Springer, his producers, and his distributor, claiming he created "a mood that led to murder."

In 2005, a UK version was shown on ITV1 entitled The Springer Show. It beat its talk-show rival Trisha Goddard five to one in the ratings, despite it being a subdued and more tongue in cheek version of the U.S. show.

The VH-1 "celebreality" series The Springer Hustle, which took a look at how The Jerry Springer Show is produced, premiered in April 2007.


Springer hosted America's Got Talent on NBC in the U.S. for two seasons, replacing Regis Philbin, before leaving to concentrate on other projects.

From January 17, 2005 to December 5, 2006, Springer hosted Springer on the Radio, a liberal talk show on Cincinnatimarker's WCKY-AM. He did the show from the Clear Channel studios in Kenwoodmarker on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and in Chicago (where his television show tapes) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Air America Radio syndicated the program for most of the show's run.

In the UK, Springer has hosted The Wright Stuff and 2001's Greed on the UK's Five network as well as 2007's Nothing But the Truth, the UK version of Nada más que la verdad. He also had a late-night talk show. On April 16, 2006, Springer was the guest host for the opening show for the third series of The Friday Night Project for Channel 4 and guest hosted Have I Got News For You on December 12, 2008. Springer has also co-presented UK daytime programme This Morning on ITV. In 2009, Springer appeared as a guest on the long running British game show Countdown and Jerry Springer hosted Miss Universe 2008


Appearing As Himself

Springer portrayed his own talk show host character in the 1998 movie Ringmaster, though his character's name is Jerry Farrelly. Ringmaster offers a behind-the-scenes look at would-be guests who apply to a Springer-like show. The same year, Springer also released an unrelated autobiography named Ringmaster; he claimed "I can only think of one title a year."

In 1997, he appeared on an episode of the ninth season of Roseanne and on The X-Files episode "The Post-Modern Prometheus". In 1998, he voiced a cartoon version of himself in the Halloween episode of The Simpsons entitled "Starship Poopers." In 1999, he appeared in the episode Mrs. Kraft of the third season of Sabrina the Teenage Witch with his talk show. In 2007, he appeared on episode #1301 of MADtv as himself.

Jerry Springer made a cameo appearance in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me as himself during an episode of his show featuring Dr. Evil and his estranged son Scott Evil.

In 1999 he was in an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Other Roles

He appeared in an episode of Married... With Children as the masculine feminist, in which he was for women getting a bowling night at a bowling alley. Al Bundy and his friends tie Springer to a chair and take over his show with a stripper who jumps up and down for the crowd's delight. He was in several episodes of George Lopez as Benny Lopez' ex-boyfriend Wayne and made a July 2007 guest appearance on Days of our Lives as "Pete," a high roller in Las Vegasmarker who helped Nick Fallon win $50,000.On October 19, 2007, Springer made a cameo appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien as a "random" audience member.In June 2009 he appeared in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatremarker London as Billy Flynn for a short period of time, starring alongside Aoife Mulholland and Leigh Zimmerman.

Guest Appearances

He has been a guest in the following shows: the UK daytime programme The Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4 on November 12, 2007, Question Time on June 19, 2008, Saturday Kitchen on June 21, 2008 along with chef Sophie Griegson and Arthur Potts Dawson, Verdict with Dan Abrams in June 2008, Whose Line is it Anyway?, The Jason Ellis Show on June 20, 2008 and Desert Island Discs on November 1, 2009

He was interviewed by satirist Chris Morris in his surreal radio series Blue Jam (Series 2, Episode 6).On January 23, 2004, Springer was featured in an episode of This American Life titled "Leaving the Fold".

Springer appeared in an episode of BBC One's Television Series Who Do You Think You Are? on August 27, 2008 In the episode he travelled to Poland, where he discovered that his maternal grandmother had been sent to Chelmno extermination campmarker by the Nazis and killed. His paternal grandmother died at Theresienstadt concentration campmarker in what is now the Czech Republicmarker.

Springer appeared on the Chris Moyles Show in April 2009, along with Davina McCall and Alan Carr. On May 31, 2009, Springer was a guest on the Andrew Marr Show talking about politics and his upcoming projects. He also made a guest appearance on Roseanne sitcom show.

Springer appeared on 4 music in the United Kingdommarker, Counting down 50 great American musicians

Other Projects

In the mid-1990s, Springer recorded Dr. Talk, an album that mostly consisted of country music covers.

In the autumn of 2006, Springer was a contestant on the third season of Dancing with the Stars, with his professional dance partner, Kym Johnson. He wanted to appear on the show so he could learn the waltz for the wedding of his daughter, Katie. Springer and Johnson were eliminated in the seventh week of competition.

On May 16, 2008, Springer delivered the Northwestern University School of Lawmarker commencement address. Although many students had criticized the University's choice of speaker, he received a standing ovation from about half the audience and reviews of his speech were generally positive. In a March 2009 interview on Anytime with Bob Kushell, Springer said that in his speech he talked about "the ethical judgments we all have to make in whatever business we go [into]. Springer is the executive producer of the Steve Wilkos show..


In May 1998, a photo story about Springer having sex with porn star Kendra Jade in Chicago's Executive Plaza Hotel appeared in the tabloids News of the World and The Globe. Kendra's stepmother Kelly Jade was also present in the hotel room, and Kendra, Kelly, and porn director John Bowen appeared on Springer's show the next day, discussing a 350-person gang bang. Another tabloid reported that Springer's wife Micki left him because of this. But they subsequently seem to have reconciled, because a January 2006 cover story in Sarasota Magazine, "If You Knew Jerry" by Kay Kipling, stated that Springer and Micki are together, living part-time in a home in Sarasota, Florida. Kelly Jade later alleged that the sexual escapade had been set up by Bowen, who would receive several hundred thousand dollars from Springer to suppress a video tape of the romp shot with a hidden camera. Bowen denied the payoff and said that he had signed an agreement with Springer's lawyers not to discuss the matter.

In Popular Culture

A musical by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, Jerry Springer - The Opera, is based on his show. It first became popular at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2002 . It has since played at the Royal National Theatremarker in London, and London's West Endmarker before embarking on a UK Tour in 2006. It has recently opened in Chicago, in the US, and will be moving onto regional productions throughout the United States. It was also screened on BBC 2 Television, causing some controversy. The televised version is now available on DVD.

David Pannick QC appeared and won the case for BBC director-general Mark Thompson. The High Court ruled that the cult musical Jerry Springer - The Opera is not blasphemous, and Pannick stated that: "Judge Tubbs had acted within her powers and made the only decision she could lawfully have made; while religious beliefs were integral to British society, so is freedom of expression, especially to matters of social and moral importance."

Springer and his television program are mentioned in Mark Knopfler's song Devil Baby. He inspired the songs "Jerry Springer" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Mr Springer" by Fascinating Aida, and "Jerry Rules in the Land of the Free" by the Dutch punk band De Heideroosjes.


  1. "Springer, Gerald N." Tulane University Alumni Directory 2002, New Orleans: Tulane U. p 761
  2. Jerry Springer for Governor: a 1980 Campaign Ad YouTube
  3. Note: online sources that call her "Nanny" seem to be in error. Most media reports say that her first name was Nancy. For example
  4. TV Springer in sex romps with guests. News of the World, May 10, 1998.
  5. Sex film Springer dumped by wife. Daily Record, May 30, 1998.
  7. John T. Bone, collection by Luke Ford
  8. Windsong - A "Bone" of Contention For Former Cream Entertainment Partners. AVN News, March 3, 1999


  • Rebecca Johnson and Kathleen Powers, "Jerry Springer under Siege", Good Housekeeping, September 1998, pp. 114�??119.
  • John Kieswetter. "Springer ready to take radio show national". Cincinnati Enquirer. March 21, 2005. D1.

  • Allison J. Waldman, "American Pie: The In-Your-Face Success of 'The Jerry Springer Show'", Television Week, May 8, 2006, p. 31.

  • Sharon Waxman. "King of the Trash Heap; Jerry Springer Digs the Dirt On Television". Washington Post, January 20, 1998, p. D1.

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