25 Years Of The ‘Jerry Springer Show’

Sep 21, 2015

Jerry Springer
Credit Jerry Springer Show

Twenty-five years of the “Jerry Springer Show?” Really?

No.

Springer celebrates the start of his 25th season today (9 a.m., Channel 64). So technically, the daytime “Springer” show is only 24 years old. But that’s still an extraordinary achievement for the daytime program which started at WLWT-TV’s old Crosley Square studios at 9th and Elm Streets on Sept. 30, 1991.

On only five TV stations.

A year later, NBC affiliates nationwide picked up “Springer.” As part of the deal, “Springer” moved to NBC’s WMAQ-TV in Chicago. He often commuted daily between Cincinnati and Chicago so he keep anchoring Channel 5 newscasts with Norma Rashid.

In 1993, "Springer" producers offered this prototype advertisement to stations.
Credit Jerry Springer Show

Because he was still doing news, his daytime show was very different from today. The early “Springer” show was mostly a serious Phil Donahue-style issues oriented discussion about race, equality, domestic violence, homelessness, the AIDS epidemic, etc. “We’re trying desperately to take the high road,” he told the Boston Herald.

Then he quit his Channel 5 anchor job in 1993, and all hell broke loose. Chairs flew. Guests fought. And by fall of 1999, the "Jerry Springer Show" was the nation’s No. 1 daytime series, and the first talk show to beat “Oprah Winfrey” in more than a decade. (Jerr-Ree! Jerr-Ree!

Springer earned another distinction in 2002: The nation’s worst TV show, No. 1 on TV Guide’s list of Worst Shows In The History Of Television.”

The former Cincinnati mayor, councilman and Emmy-winning news anchor started making over his image in 2005, hosting a national liberal talk radio show from Clear Channel’s WCKY-AM. Then he competed in 2006 on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” He lasted six weeks by showing the loveable, self-deprecating humor which got him elected in the 1970s to Cincinnati City Council.  His ABC prime-time exposure led to hosting NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” the second and third seasons (2007-2008).

Springer, 71, is still going strong, hosting game shows and tabloid news shows along with his daytime show. You’ve got to hand it to him.

Who thought he would last two years as a daytime talk host? 

A scene from the "Springer" show premiere Sept. 30, 1991, at WLWT-TV.
Credit Jerry Springer Show