- Jerry Springer said he believes he “ruined culture” thanks to his controversial talk show.
- “Jerry Springer” aired almost 5,000 episodes between 1991 and 2018.
- “I just hope hell isn’t that hot because I burn real easy,” he said on “Behind the Velvet Rope.”
Four years after his controversial tabloid talk show ended its 27-season run, Jerry Springer is reflecting on the legacy he has left on the world.
On Tuesday’s episode of David Yontef’s “Behind the Velvet Rope” podcast, the 78-year-old politician turned TV host was asked if he considers himself the “granddad of reality TV,” thanks to his eponymous talk show, which aired almost 5,000 episodes between 1991 and its cancellation in 2018.
Springer wasn’t keen to accept the title and instead answered: “No, I just apologize. I’m so sorry. What have I done? I’ve ruined the culture.”
He then joked: “I just hope hell isn’t that hot because I burn real easy. I’m very light-complected, and that kind of worries me.”
Springer added that he considers himself “just a schlub who got lucky,” and that making a name for himself in showbusiness was “never a thought in my mind.”
The show, which featured guests airing their personal problems in front of a live studio audience, still has people talking to this day, thanks to reruns that air all over the world.
Some of the most memorable and outrageous episodes include a man who was living in marital bliss with his horse, a woman who had sex with 251 men in 10 hours to beat the world’s sex record, and a mother and daughter who teamed up to be dominatrixes together.
Of course, over the years, there were plenty of paternity tests, adultery accusations, and altercations between the guests, who were more than happy to send chairs flying in the name of entertainment.
Prior to the talk show, which made him a household name, Springer was mayor of Cincinnati between 1977 and 1978. Explaining how he made the transition from politics to television, he told Yontef on the podcast that it was “pure luck.”
The British-born star explained: “After being mayor, I was offered the job to anchor the news for the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. I did that for 10 years.”
“And that was a kind of rational transition and then how the show happened was pure luck,” Springer continued.
“The company that owned the station where I did the news owned talk shows. They owned Phil Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael. Well, Phil was retiring. And so the CEO took me to lunch one day and said, Phil’s retiring, we are starting a new talk show. You’re the host.”
“So I was assigned to it as an employee, and then all of a sudden, the show took off. So I wound up in show business through no thought of my own,” Springer said, noting that he doesn’t believe he has “any particular showbusiness talent.”