If you were watching television in the 1990’s or even the 2000’s for that matter, it was almost impossible to surf through the channels and not catch The Jerry Springer Show. The syndicated tabloid talk show aired for 27 years and 5,000 episodes. The show became known for its controversial topics, fights, profanity, physical fights, nudity, and unforgettable guests. Many went on to call it the “most infamous guilty pleasure” in American television. With its reputation, it’s hard to believe that Jerry Springer didn’t initially intend to be the viral and chaotic spectacle it became.
The show’s first seasons didn’t reach nearly the successful ratings that it did around it’s peak. This was largely to blame on the fact that in the early stages of the show, the Burt Dubrow created show focused primarily on more political issues. Why, you ask? The answer is relatively simple. The show’s host and namesake has a background in politics. That’s correct. One of the founding fathers or ratchet TV was once a very prominent politician and his journey is about as entertaining as one of the storylines on his show.
Gerald Norman Springer was born in England but at the age of four, he emigrated to the United States. One of his earliest memories about current events was being 12 and watching the 1956 Democratic National Convention. He was very impressed by John F. Kennedy, which is ironic because he ended up becoming a political campaign adviser to John’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy after earning a B.A. degree from Tulane University and a J.D. degree from Northwestern University. After RFK was assassinated, Springer began practicing law in Cincinnati.
In 1971, he was elected to the Cincinnati City Council. He resigned three years later after he admitted to soliciting a prostitute. Although for most that would be the end of the road, Springer eventually won his seat back by a landslide the next year largely in part to his honesty about the situation. The seemingly impossible happened in 1977 when he was selected by the city council to serve as mayor for a year. After failing to win the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio in 1982, his political career was pretty much over. By the time he considered running for the Senate in 2000, he eventually backed out because of the negative associations that came with his show.
Contrary to what people might believe, Springer’s transition from politics to broadcasting wasn’t a tough one at all. His broadcasting career began while he was at Tulane. He continued it while he was still the mayor of Cincinnati. The popularity of his commentaries on the radio station launched his broadcasting career. Before the launch of his show, Jerry was hired as a political reporter and commentator, primary news anchor and managing editor on Cincinnati’s NBC affiliate WLWT. Talk about living a crazy full life right? After finding out all these details about his life, seeing Jerry interview himself is something that we all would surely want to see.