Jerry Springer, influential US talkshow host, dies aged 79
The talkshow host Jerry Springer, a former mayor of Cincinnati whose work was vastly influential in daytime TV worldwide, has died. He was 79.
The controversial presenter hosted The Jerry Springer Show for nearly three decades from 1991.
Springer died peacefully on Thursday at his home in Chicago, his publicists confirmed to BBC News.
In a statement, Jene Galvin, a friend of Springer’s and spokesman for the family, described him as “irreplaceable”.
“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,” he said.
“He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humour will live on.”
Springer’s chat show became a symbol of low-brow television with its on-air fights, swearing and infidelity revelations.
Prior to his broadcasting career, which included roles as a political reporter and commentator, Springer was the mayor of Cincinnati and a political campaign adviser to Robert F Kennedy.
Last October, Springer starred in the US version of The Masked Singer – one of his final TV appearances.
Springer was born in Highgate, London, in 1944 to Jewish refugees from a region of Germany which is now part of Poland.
Launched in 1991, The Jerry Springer Show began life as an ordinary talk show focusing on social issues and US politics, led by the-then mild mannered Springer.
But in an effort to boost ratings, Springer switched things up dramatically after a few years, focusing on salacious and outrageous content.
In most episodes, guests came to talk about family problems and expose adultery and other transgressions.
Springer would supposedly try to mediate but the encounters often ended up in fist-fights, with guests being held back by security guards.
In the late 1990s the show topped the daytime television ratings in the US, beating even Oprah. It ended its run in 2018.
From 2007 to 2008, Springer hosted America’s Got Talent, and in recent years he fronted the courtroom show Judge Jerry.
Political commentator David Axelrod said: “Jerry Springer will be remembered as the ringmaster of an embarrassing, tabloid-style TV show.
“But I met him earlier, when he was a mayor and insurgent progressive candidate for governor of Ohio in a race I covered. He was funny, self-effacing & incisive.”