The Jerry Springer Show was an iconic American TV show that millions tuned into every afternoon to watch what the host himself dubbed “the worst TV show of all time.” A guilty pleasure for most, the program, which initially received negative feedback, grew in popularity as dysfunctional families came on camera to hash out their issues in front of millions. Initially considered trash television, watchers in the US and worldwide began to love the show for its satire and drama-filled segments abundant with profanity and shocking storylines.
Produced and aired by NBCUniversal, the show was so popular that it was a staple of American media for 27 years and remained on the air from its pilot in 1991 until 2018. The arguments, peacemaking and bitter-sweet relationships kept audiences on the edge of their seats for 27 seasons and nearly 5,000 episodes. As well as the show itself, many fell in love with the show because they had an affinity for its host, the late Jerry Springer. As a British-American legend, it is fitting we look back at him, his backstory and see one of the most classic moments from his show.
Born Gerald Springer, the American TV host was born and raised to a Jewish family in north London until the age of four when he and his mother relocated to the Kew Gardens neighbourhood of Queens. Here, Springer would go to high school but eventually move around the US as he attended university. Unbeknownst to many, Springer studied Political Science at Tulane University and received a law degree from Northwestern University in Illinois. The TV host juggled law and politics while engaging in broadcast entertainment on campus.
Springer worked for Tulane University’s college radio station, and by showcasing his comprehensive political knowledge on his regular show, The Springer Memorandum, he secured a job as a radio host for an NBC local station located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Working his way up the ladder as a broadcaster for NBC after hosting a primetime political radio show in Chicago, he was asked of he wanted to be the face of a new program.
The Jerry Springer Show initially began as a news program. However, the cable network quickly realised that tabloid sensationalism appealed to audiences more and in 1994, with NBC producer Richard Dominick, the two reformatted the program to become what we know today as the Jerry Springer Show. The show has seen many epic moments, especially when it comes to rap. In 2018, the provocative Delaware female emcee Sukihana performed her viral song ‘5 Foot’ on the program. However, on one occasion, the Jerry Springer Show played host to a rap battle. You can see it in the video below.