From mayor to mayhem: TV ringmaster Jerry Springer dies
Jerry Springer, the iconic talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati, passed away at the age of 79 at his home in suburban Chicago after a brief illness, as confirmed by his publicist, Linda Shafran. Springer was known for hosting the long-running talk show, The Jerry Springer Show, where real people from around the country would reveal shocking and often scandalous details of their lives, leading to fights and chaos on the set.
He started his career as a political campaign adviser to Democrat Robert F. Kennedy and later became a lawyer. Springer ran for Congress in 1970 but failed to win. In 1971, he was elected to the Cincinnati City Council but resigned in 1974 after admitting to soliciting a prostitute. He was re-elected in 1975 and served as mayor for one year in 1977. In 1982, he sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio but failed to win.
Springer also had a successful broadcast career, beginning as a commentator on Cincinnati’s NBC affiliate and later becoming a popular news anchor. He then became a talk show host in the 1990s, hosting the politically-oriented show “Jerry Springer” in 1991, with guests such as Oliver North and Jesse Jackson discussing issues like homelessness and gun politics. However, in 1994, the show’s format was revamped to focus on sensationalism, with guests confronting each other on stage about controversial situations like adultery, homosexuality, and hate group membership. Despite its controversial nature, the show topped daytime television ratings in the US in the late 1990s, beating even Oprah.
Springer’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success, and his loss is deeply felt by his family, friends, and fans. He hosted other television shows such as America’s Got Talent, Miss World and Miss Universe, and guest-hosted WWE Raw. He also hosted a dating game show called Baggage and a talk show on Cincinnati’s WCKY-AM. From 2014, he hosted Investigation Discovery series Tabloid, and in 2015, he presented Jerry Springer Presents WWE Too Hot For TV on the WWE Network.
In 2002, the show was sued by the sons of a murdered guest, claiming the show created a mood that led to the murder. The show ended its run in 2018 after 27 seasons but continues to air reruns on The CW. Springer also debuted a podcast in 2015 and a UK version of the show called The Springer Show in 2005.
Jerry Springer’s legacy will forever be remembered as a larger-than-life figure who entertained and shocked audiences around the world.
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