Jerry Springer, Host of TV’s Most Controversial Show, Dies at 79

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Jerry Springer, the former Cincinnati news anchor and mayor who came to preside over the controversial and extremely profitable talk show bearing his name, has died. He was 79.

Springer died peacefully Thursday at his home in the Chicago suburbs after a brief illness. “Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” said Jene Galvin, a lifelong friend and spokesman for the family, in a statement obtained by Variety. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

“The Jerry Springer Show” began its multi-decade run in 1991 and, in 1998 at the height of its popularity, beat “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the ratings, drawing 12 million viewers.

Like Geraldo Rivera, Springer signed on for a show that he thought seemed like the logical next step in his journalism career — a show not unlike “Donahue” that would take a  serious look at a variety of important issues. But as with “Geraldo,” the pressure to score big in the ratings pretty quickly meant appealing to the lowest common denominator — Springer and his new producer, Richard Dominick, who’d worked at the Weekly World News, made significant changes to the show in order to garner higher ratings in early 1994 — and “here he was,” wrote Todd VanDerWerff in a June 2014 piece on Springer on the A.V. Club site, “no longer exposing America’s dark underbelly but rolling around in it.”

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I met him once ... or at least someone who looked just like him 🤣


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