One of the most controversial, eccentric and ultimately influential personalities in all of television has passed away.
Jerry Springer, best known for spearheading “The Jerry Springer Show,” died at the age of 79 on Thursday morning.
According to TMZ, which broke the news, Springer died after things took a turn for the worse in his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Springer had reportedly been diagnosed with cancer several months ago.
A family representative described Springer’s health issues as a “brief illness.”
This same representative added that Springer died peacefully in his home in the Chicago area.
Although Springer is best known for hosting his raucous talk show, he first came to public attention as a politician.
Indeed, Springer has a failed Congressional campaign and a term as mayor of Cincinnati to his credit, though both of those took place in the 1970s.
But while Springer had a relatively muted political career, the same cannot be said about “The Jerry Springer Show” — or at least what it eventually became.
According to TMZ, “The Jerry Springer Show” was originally a political pulpit where politics (and not paternity tests) were the topics of the day.
When that incarnation failed to generate much in the way of ratings, they overhauled the show to what it is best known as now.
For the uninitiated, “The Jerry Springer Show” rose to prominence due to raunchy content, scantily clad women (if not blatant nudity), controversial topics (incest, polyamorous relationships, adultery), and the almost-iconic studio audience chant:
“Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!”
Despite the fact that Springer’s show eventually became a ratings success in its own right (there was a period in the mid-1990s when his show regularly drew more viewers than Oprah Winfrey’s massive show in certain cities), its most enduring influence may have been “car crash television”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
In short, Springer’s show tapped into the almost primal nature of people being unable to turn their heads away from a massive wreckage — whether that’s a car or the smoldering remains of someone’s life after learning that their father is actually their third cousin. CONTINUE READING…