Springer show ends

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

Af­ter al­most three decades of lurid con­fes­sions and guests brawl­ing in front of a cheer­ing stu­dio au­di­ence, The Jerry Springer Show is con­fronting a shock rev­e­la­tion of its own: it ap­pears to have run its course.

Pro­duc­tion has ended on the tacky talk show af­ter 4000 episodes, although the net­work CW plans to screen re­peats.

A wrap party last week re­port­edly in­cluded cock­tails, drag queens and a video mon­i­tor with the mes­sage: ‘‘I sur­vived The Jerry Springer Show.’’

Springer, 74, had sug­gested that he might re­tire, and has often dis­par­aged his show as shal­low, id­i­otic and hav­ing ‘‘no re­deem­ing so­cial value’’.

Even so, it be­came a low­brow cul­tural touch­stone, spawn­ing a host of im­i­ta­tions, in­clud­ing The Jeremy Kyle Show in Bri­tain, which was once con­demned by a judge as ‘‘hu­man bear-



Springer’s show be­gan in 1991 as a heavy­weight dis­cus­sion pro­gramme fo­cused on se­ri­ous is­sues. Springer, the Bri­tish-born son of Jewish emi­gres from Nazi Ger­many, has al­ways been a po­lit­i­cal ob­ses­sive, and was mayor of Cin­ci­natti in the 1970s.

By the sec­ond sea­son, how­ever, his pro­duc­ers were steer­ing the show in a more sala­cious di­rec­tion in a bid for rat­ings. Adul­tery, in­cest, sur­prise preg­nan­cies, gen­der twists and same-sex pas­sions be­came its stock in trade. In 1998, it briefly beat Oprah Win­frey’s rat­ings, with a daily au­di­ence of al­most 10 mil­lion view­ers.

‘‘My show is stupid,’’ Springer told The Daily Beast web­site in Fe­bru­ary. ‘‘The only de­fence I ever give when peo­ple are at­tack­ing it, is that they won’t ad­mit their crit­i­cism is elit­ist.’’

The Times

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