Jerry Springer Show
The Jerry Springer Show
In the late 1990’s The Jerry Springer Show was one of the most controversial shows on television, feeding a voyeuristic obsession that helped Jerry Springer overcome Oprah in the daytime ratings at one point. Featuring guests willing to air the dirtiest of laundry in public and frequent violence on stage and language so foul most episodes had more words bleeped out than could be heard, Springer was a train wreck but a ratings monster.

Although it started airing in 1991, Springer didn’t gain momentum until the mid-90s, when its format changed, showcasing deviant sexual behavior and bringing in some of those most unbelievable guests a talk show had ever seen. Springer’s popularity even extended to a movie, Ringmaster in which Springer basically played himself and earned the show’s security man, Steve Wilkos, his own show.

At its height Springer was the ultimate guilty pleasure for daytime TV watchers. But as the heyday of the sensational talk show passed, so too did Springer’s popularity. Viewers turned to the rapidly expanding reality TV genre for their train-wreck viewing.

This past September The Jerry Springer Show started its 22nd season on the air, but the shock value has long since worn off. Jerry Springer is still heading up his daytime circus and little has changed. The current season has featured episodes like “It’s Raining Trannies” and “Meet My Gay Stripper Boyfriend”. The guests are still brawling on stage and the audience is still chanting “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”

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