Fans of the in-your-face, bleeped-out tough talk, flying chairs, pulling hair and other talk-show mayhem of “The Jerry Springer Show” take note: The series’ future may be in jeopardy.
Hollywoodreporter.com reports that no new episodes of the show have been ordered by its current network of stations. A new deal with the CW calls for airing reruns only.
Springer moved his production to Stamford, Connecticut, in 2009, under a distribution deal with NBCUniversal Television Distribution. Nearly 2 million viewers currently tune in to the syndicated gabfest/slugfest, which has been on the air in one form or another for 27 years, including a seven-year stint when it was taped in Chicago.
When the show moved to Chicago’s NBC Tower in 1992, show fans flocked to the daily tapings. But Springer quickly landed on the receiving end of much anger and displeasure from Chicago civic and political leaders.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger waged a near two-year war against Springer’s show, citing its glorification of violence. His brief presence as a commentator on WMAQ-Channel 5 prompted the resignation of anchor Carol Marin and contributed to co-anchor Ron Magers’ decision to leave shortly thereafter.
In 1999, Springer was summoned to the Chicago City Council, to answer whether the violence on his talk show was staged. According to a Sun-Times story about the hearing, before the hearing by the Police and Fire Committee even began, Springer was playing the room, shaking hands and schmoozing with aldermen. He saved the biggest smile and the longest handshake for Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who had demanded Springer’s presence. Burke wished him luck.
“But it wasn’t long before the pleasantries ended and the Perry Mason-style questioning began,” the 1999 story reported. “When Springer argued that the confrontations on his show are designed to make violence look unattractive and are more like roughhousing between brothers, Burke tried to prove otherwise by playing a “Best of Springer” video: punching, wrestling, chair-throwing and hair-pulling between program participants who had stolen each other’s spouses.”
Burke asked, “That’s what you refer to as roughhousing? Smacking people in the face, choking them and kicking them?”
Springer countered, “Sure looked like it. I didn’t see a weapon there. I didn’t see a gun or a knife.”
A former TV newscaster in Ohio, Springer also served as mayor of Cincinnati from 1977-78.
In a 2004 interview with the Sun-Times, Springer was asked if he was proud of his television show.
“Well, I don’t think it’s an issue of pride,” Springer said at the time. “As I said, anyone could do what I do on television. Pride is vanity. It’s a sin. If you do something good for your kid, if you do something good, like for the hospital, that’s something to be proud of. But who wants to be proud of what they do on television?”
“The Jerry Springer Show” currently airs on WCIU-Channel 26 in Chicago.