HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — Jerry Springer died in his home near Chicago on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Aged 79, Springer, over the course of his lifetime, completely changed the landscape of what was viable on television.
After a political career that not only included scandal but also a stint as the mayor of Cincinnati, Springer launched a talk show in 1991 that was originally meant to be a serious political discussion but quickly transformed into something significantly more culturally relevant.
Springer and his producers turned their product into a show bathed in sensationalism. Every episode had wacky or conversational guests who had some type of abnormal issue or a bizarre disposition.
The transition to this more edgy type of television helped pave the way for the types of TV shows that would dominate the airwaves over the next 15 years.
After Springer’s death on Thursday morning, his friend and fellow talk show host Geraldo Rivera spoke about Springer’s legacy
“Jerry Springer, particularly, would push the envelope.” “He went from outrageous to ridiculous to flamboyant and fun-filled. People watched because it was entertaining. He made a real mark.”
Springer is often credited with popularizing reality TV, which has led to shows like Maury and the Steve Wilkos shows adopting a very similar format. Springer, in interviews, had taken credit for starting the trend that led to reality shows featuring celebrities such as the Kardashians.
The Springer legacy does live on television right now, as the Steve Wilkos Show is a direct spin-off of the Jerry Springer Show.