Jerry Springer, Politician Turned Trashy Talk Show Host Dies at 79

Jerry Springer, a broadcaster, author, politician, journalist, actor, lawyer and host of a daytime show so outrageous he once apologized by saying it “ruined the culture,” died today at age 79 in his suburban Chicago home after a brief illness, according to a statement from his family.

Though he had a lot of high-profile jobs over his lifetime – including mayor of Cincinnati – Springer was best known as host of The Jerry Springer Show, a syndicated TV program which lasted for 27 years, featuring provocatively sensational topics and confrontations among the guests, sometimes degenerating into fistfights.

Springer started his talk show in 1991 as a more conventional affair. Dressed in a suit and tie with glasses, he looked like a younger version of talk-TV titan Phil Donahue, and questioned guests while roaming the crowd with a wireless microphone in the same way.

But over time, Springer began to feature more outrageous guests and subjects, with cheating spouses, open racists, and button-pushing, explicit issues guaranteed to spark arguments.

The show’s success became one of the pillars of the tabloid talk show movement which included hosts like Maury Povich, Sally Jessy Raphael, Jenny Jones, Montel Williams and Morton Downey Jr. Springer, a likable, charismatic guy with a conventional look and just-asking-questions manner, always came across as a more buttoned-down counterpoint to his outrageous guests.

(Excerpt) Read more @ NPR

Jerry Springer, Politician Turned Trashy Talk Show Host Dies at 79

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