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The Jerry Springer Show is a syndicated television tabloid talk show hosted by Jerry Springer, a former politician, broadcast in the United Statesmarker and other countries. It is videotaped at the Stamford Media Center in Stamford, Connecticutmarker and is distributed by NBC Universal Television Distribution, although it is not currently broadcast on any NBC-owned stations.

The Jerry Springer Show is ostensibly a talk show where troubled or dysfunctional families come to discuss their problems before a studio audience so that the audience or host can offer suggestions on what can be done to resolve their situations. In actuality, the show has come to epitomize the so-called "trash TV talk show", as each episode of the show focuses on topics such as adultery, bestiality, divorce, homophobia, homosexuality, incest, infidelity, pedophilia, pornography, prostitution, racism, strange fetishes, dwarfism, or transvestism, which frequently result in fighting between guests. At one point, the show proudly boasted that it was voted the "Worst TV Show Ever" by TV Guide magazine. The show also bragged to be "an hour of your life you'll never get back". The Jerry Springer Show has received widespread criticism and caused many controversies for a variety of reasons including its elements of prurience, foul language and the exploitation of the vulnerable.

The Jerry Springer Show is infamous for its "fight scenes" between participants, although former guests confirm that such scenes are choreographed. One former guest reported, "We acted everything. When you have to do this, when you have to punch, when you have to push." The producers, he said, "wanted us to wrestle and throw each other around. They said 'We want four fights.'"

On November 5, 2009, it was announced that Springer was picked up by NBC-Universal through the 2011-2012 season.


Show host Jerry Springer


A typical episode of Springer begins with a title card warning parents that the show may contain content inappropriate for children. After the opening sequence, the screen cuts to Springer entering the stage, usually being greeted by audience applause and the "Je-rry!, Je-rry!" chant. Once the audience settles down, he welcomes the viewer to the show, introduces a particular situation, and interviews a guest who is experiencing it. After finishing the interview, Springer announces the entrance of another guest whom the first guest would like to confront. The second guest enters the stage, and a confrontation between the two guests usually occurs, often breaking down into a brawl that is eventually broken up by on-set security personnel. Once the fight is broken up, Springer interviews the second guest about the situation faced by the first guest.

This cycle is repeated about twice for other sets of guests on the show. Once all guests have told their stories, there is usually a "question and answer" segment where audience members ask guests questions relevant to their situations, although usually their questions come to insult a guest. Finally, Springer ends the show with a segment titled "Final Thought", in which he shares his feelings about the stories he has heard for the day's show. He ends the segment with the concluding statement, "Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other".

Generally, Springer tends to present his program standing up in the stands rather than the main stage. (This is probably to protect himself from the potential violence occurring on the stage)

Sometimes the show will have a look back at previous episodes. These have been rebranded as Classic Springer. These shows are interspersed with commentary from Springer himself, usually before and after commercial breaks.


Previous to moving the show to Connecticut, the program was taped at the NBC Towermarker operated by NBC television station WMAQmarker in Chicago, Illinoismarker.The set for the show has changed twice since its current layout. When the show first started in 1991, it was very bland with white walls and bright colored shapes, in an effort to capture the feel of fellow talk show Donahue, Jerry's haircut and glasses even seeming to make him look like Phil Donahue. In 1994, when the series underwent its format overhaul, the studio received a makeover to make it look a bit warmer and more inviting, complete with brick walls, artwork, and bookcases. The stage walls were designed so that they could be projected outward into the audience, making room for a catwalk for use in shows such as the 1998 episode "STRIPPER WARS!". In late 2000, the whole set was changed again to its current "industrial" look. These changes where at first welcomed due to the reduced ratings of the 1999-2000 season. The logo and stage design have been carried acroess to the new studio in Connecticutmarker with only a few changes.



The Jerry Springer Show debuted on September 30, 1991, with fellow talk-show host Sally Jessy Raphaël as its first guest. Initially, both Springer and Sally were distributed by Multimedia Entertainment, before Sally was sold to Universal in the mid '90s, with Springer at first going to the former Universal and later to Studios USA.

1994-2000 logo, most identified with the show's peak in popularity and below is the new logo that has been in use since late 2000.
Originally seen in only the four markets where Multimedia owned TV stations, it started as a politically-oriented talk show, a longer version of the commentary for which Springer had gained local fame as a reporter and anchor, and was even taped at Springer's former station, WLWTmarker in Cincinnatimarker. Guests early on included Oliver North and Jesse Jackson, and the topics included homelessness and gun politics, as well as social effects of rock and roll, featuring shock rock stars like GG Allin, El Duce from The Mentors and GWAR as guests. For its second season, the series was purchased by the NBC owned-and-operated stations, thus allowing it to finally achieve full national clearance, and production was moved to its longtime home of Chicago. However, ratings remained low for the next three seasons, and Multimedia threatened cancellation if ratings didn't improve by November 1994, which led to an overhaul that saw original producer Burt Dubrow's departure and replacement by former Weekly World News reporter Richard Dominick. The search for higher ratings led the program towards tawdry and provocative topics, becoming more and more successful as it became more and more obscene, although it still covered issues that were more sensitive and less sensational. It became, by Springer's own admission, a "freak show" where guests seek their 15 minutes of fame through discussion and demonstrations of deviant behavior. Its extraordinary success has led it to be broadcast in dozens of countries. The show gained so much popularity that for a while it was the top-rated daytime talk show in the United States.

Controversies over authenticity and violence

In the late 1990s, the show was quite popular and controversial, so much so that it caused contemporaries like Jenny Jones, Maury Povich, and Ricki Lake to "revamp" their own shows in order to improve ratings. However, major figures in television, along with many religious preachers, had called for the show's removal and considered it to be of bad taste.

In 1997 and 1998, the show reached its ratings peak, at one point becoming the first talk show in years to beat The Oprah Winfrey Show. However, it had since been featuring almost non-stop fighting between guests, triggering mass protests from TV personalities and some priests. The Chicago City Council suggested that if the fistfights and chair-throwing were real, then the guests should be arrested for committing acts of violence in the city, as alderman Ed Burke was concerned over the fact that the off-duty Chicago police officers serving as security guards for the program failed to take legal action against fighting guests. Springer explained that the violence on the program "look[ed] real" to him, also arguing that the fighting on the show "never, ever, ever glamorizes violence". Ultimately, the City Council chose not to pursue the matter. Because of this probe and other external and internal pressures, the fighting was taken off the show temporarily before being allowed again in a less violent nature. In the years of the show having toned down the fights, viewership has declined but remains respectable by newer standards of daytime television ratings.

However, there has been continuous debate over the actual authenticity of the fighting. Marvin Kitman, television critic for the Newsday newspaper, felt that the fighting had been choreographed beforehand. Christopher Sterling of the George Washington Universitymarker media department compared the program to professional wrestling; in fact many of the producers later on admitted the fights in the show were inspired by the fights and angles in the WWE. Sixteen former guests of The Jerry Springer Show, who were interviewed on various U.S. media outlets such as the entertainment news program Extra, Rolling Stone magazine, and The New York Post newspaper, even claimed there was a "fight quota" for each episode and that they and other guests were encouraged to fight one another. Springer himself even admitted in an October 2000 interview with the Reuters news agency:

In his autobiography, Ringmaster, Springer himself reveals that the show's guests undergo intense screening before appearing on-set; most Springer guests are required to show evidence that their story is true, or at least plausible. Additionally, Springer has stopped the show entirely on at least two occasions—one such occasion occurred when one guest, who boasted that he could make almost anyone a successful porn star, claimed that he could also do it with children. Outraged, Springer walked off the set and refused to continue taping, and later issued an apology to the viewers.

Early 2000s

In 2000, Springer was given a five-year, $30 million contract extension paying him $6 million per year. The same year, a married couple, Ralf and Eleanor Panitz, were guests on an episode of the show entitled "Secret Mistresses Confronted" with Mr. Panitz's ex-wife, Nancy Campbell-Panitz, in which they complained about Ms. Campbell-Panitz's behavior and accused her of stalking them. Hours after it was broadcast on July 24, 2000, Ms. Campbell-Panitz was found dead in a home that the three were fighting over, and Florida police soon confirmed that they were treating the death as homicide. It was then reported that Mr. Panitz, having been issued a first-degree murder warrant for the death, was trying to flee to Canadamarker to avoid prosecution. Upon news of the 52-year old woman's murder, a spokeswoman for the program issued a statement saying it was "a terrible tragedy."

In August 2000, Springer appeared on CNN's Larry King Live to discuss the incident, claiming that it "had nothing to do with the show" and that his talk show does not glamorize deviant behavior. On March 27, 2002, after 18 hours of deliberating from jurors, Mr. Panitz was convicted of the murder after a 10-day trial and sentenced to life.

In 2001, efforts from groups like the Parents Television Council and American Family Association made some advertisers decrease or stop their sponsorship of Springer. For the United Kingdommarker, the Independent Television Commission banned Springer and other tabloid talk programs from being shown on television during daytime hours on school holidays in response to numerous parental complaints and concerns about children's potential exposure to the salacious content (there was a British version of the show made for ITV which was lighter and more tongue in cheek). The show also topped TV Guide magazine's 2002 list of the "The Worst TV Shows Ever". The phrase "Jerry Springer Nation" began to be used by some who see the program as being a bad influence on the morality of the United States. In addition, the phrase has shown the association of Springer with any "lowbrow" type of entertainment in general.

In 2003, a British opera inspired by the series, Jerry Springer: The Opera, began playing in the United Kingdommarker. The same year, it was revealed that a group of guests from Hayward, Californiamarker faked a "love triangle" for an appearance on two episodes of the show; one guest in the group was murdered, but Hayward police determined that his appearance was not connected to his murder.

From the 2005-2007, director of security Steve Wilkos, became sort of a cult figure on his own, and would close each show walking down a hallway engaging in casual talk with one of the more colorful guests of the preceding episode. He also would occasionally host the show. Episodes that he hosted were intended to be more serious in tone than the typical Springer show. Wilkos left Springer at the end of the 2006-2007 season to pursue his own self-titled talk show.

Mid-2000s to present

In 2005, the program became a subject of criticism in Bernard Goldberg's book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, being called "TV's lowest life-form" and Springer himself being ranked at #32 and labeled an "American Pioneer". Goldberg also claimed that Springer was knowingly capitalizing on the disadvantages of his guests and the stupidity of his audience, also citing the controversial episode revolving around the man who married his horse.

In January 2006, the show was renewed for its sixteenth season, ending speculation that Springer would leave his talk show to run for elected office in Ohiomarker, where he is the former mayor of Cincinnatimarker. On May 12, 2006, Springer celebrated his show's 3,000th episode by throwing a party on the show (which no one but Jerry showed up to humorously), and showed many clips, including rare excerpts from the first episode.

In the United Kingdommarker, meanwhile, a Commercial High Court trial was scheduled for summer 2006 to resolve a dispute between Flextech Television and NBC Universal over Flextech in 2002 cancelling its 1998 contract to broadcast Springer in the UK as long as new episodes continued to be produced in the U.S.

In 2007, security director Wilkos left Jerry Springer to host his own syndicated talk show.The Steve Wilkos Show is also shot at the NBC Towermarker in Chicago and produced by Richard Dominick, who continued to produce Springer as well. On July 15, 2007, it was announced that Springer was picked up by NBC-Universal through the 2009-2010 season. Also, VH1 ran a documentary series The Springer Hustle, going "behind the scenes" of the show, having already run another Springer-related documentary in 2005 titled When Jerry Springer Ruled the World. Springer's appearance on the NBC television network show America's Got Talent led to an increase in viewership for the first quarter of 2007. Steve Wilkos filled in for Springer during the beginning of America's Got Talent.

A recurring character, the comical "Reverend Shnorr" (played by Director of On-Air Promotions, Brian Schnorr), was introduced in 2007 to perform weddings on the program and counsel certain guests on "Biblical values". The security staff for the program also was given new additions, as starting in the seventeenth season, three female security guards were added. Certain professional athletes have come on the show as one-off security guards for some episodes. They include hockey players Joe Corvo and Adam Burish, and mixed martial arts fighters Andrei Arlovski , Shonie Carter, and Bas Rutten.

Certain advertisers continue to avoid buying ad time for Springer. However, the show has continued to keep steady ratings in the February 2008 "Sweeps" period.

Executive producer Richard Dominick resigned shortly after the start of the 18th season; Rachelle Consiglio, wife of Steve Wilkos and longtime Senior Producer, replaced Dominick. The set decorations added during the 17th season were removed.

In May 2009 Richard Dominick Productions announced they would be staging a worldwide search for the next Jerry Springer. Dominick has teamed up with an Australian based international production company and as such plans to start the search Down Under.

On May 19, 2009 the show recorded its last episode at WMAQ-TVmarker's NBC Towermarker in Chicago, Illinoismarker. The show was recorded at this location since early 1993, midway through the second season. The shows would be produced at Stamford Media Center. Jerry was quoted as saying he was not happy with the move, but understood the financial reasons for which it was being done, and is working to secure jobs for those on his staff who wish to move with the show. Since filming at Stamford Media Center the shows set has been revamped, becoming more highly coloured with strobe lights, the theme music has changed, and the logo shown in the bottom left corner for the duration of the show has become 3-D.


Springer is syndicated on various stations in the United States at various times of the day, whether in the morning, afternoon, or late evening. All syndicated episodes of Springer are edited for content for broadcast regardless of broadcast time to comply with FCC regulations regarding the broadcast of indecency and obscenity. Initially, profanity or other explicit language on the program was bleeped out, but later episodes used muting to edit out explicit language; in fact, mute censors can extend as far as to remove a group of many words or even an entire sentence, thus making some speech incomprehensible. In addition, nudity and the partial exposure of breasts or buttocks are pixelized out.

Springer himself has stated that, while his show is a bit wild, there are certain things that are not permitted: the audience is not allowed to shout anything that encourages or sustains violence among the guests, and though furniture may be pushed aside, the chairs are purposely large to preclude their use as a weapon. Also, violence against women is never acceptable, on or off camera—in Ringmaster, Jerry mentions that he always asks if the woman wants to press charges.

Too Hot For TV

During the show's most popular era in the late 1990s, The Jerry Springer Show released videotapes and later DVDs marketed as Too Hot for TV. They contained uncensored nudity, profanity, and violence that was edited out from broadcast to conform to FCC standards for broadcast decency. The releases sold remarkably well and inspired similar sets from other series. Eventually, the show started producing similar "uncensored" monthly pay-per-view/video on demand specials as well.

See also


  1. Dixon, Mary. Trash TV? Salt Lake City Weekly: May 26, 1998.
  2. Springer's latest: 'I Married a Horse'. The Cincinnati Post: May 21, 1998
  3. TV Guide biography on Springer
  4. Jerry Springer Show
  5. Elder, Larry. Who's faking whom? Jewish World Review: April 30, 1998.
  6. Jerry Springer episode from May 5, 1993 from IMDB
  7. Schlosser, Joe. Springer reups with Studios USA. Broadcasting & Cable: April 10, 2000
  8. Police hunt for Springer guests. BBC News: July 26, 2000.
  9. Potter, Mark. Springer guest wanted in murder trying to flee to Canada, authorities say. CNN: July 27, 2000.
  10. Silverman, Stephen M. 'Springer' Guests Sought in Slaying. People: August 19, 2000.
  11. 'Jerry Springer' Murder Conviction. CBS News: March 27, 2002
  12. Downey, Kevin. Here they are, TV's Dirty Dozen. Media Life Magazine: January 29, 2001.
  13. CBS News The Worst TV Shows Ever
  14. Myers, Kenneth. Is television worth watching?
  15. Bozell wrote the article criticizing the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner, explaining "the ratings (at least compared to the usual Comedy Central gunk) were good, so they replayed this sleazy spectacle over and over again in heavy rotation until every member of Jerry Springer Nation had watched it twice."
  16. Ibid., 208.
  17. Ibid., 209.
  18. The Springer Hustle | Get Info About the TV Series, Find Info on the TV Show Episode |
  19. When ___ Ruled The World | Get Info About the Jerry Springer Episode, Find Info on the TV Show Online |
  20. Rev. Shnorr
  21. Noe, Denise. The Jerry Springer Show's Rev. Shnorr character is a creation of anti-Christian bigotry. Men's News Daily: Sept. 6, 2007.
  22. Bianculli, David. It's a Circus: Is Jerry Springer's No-Holds-Barred Talk Show Harmless Populist Escapism, the End of Civilization as we know it, or both? New York Daily News: February 8, 1998

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