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Template loop detected: Template:Infobox Television The Jerry Springer Show is a syndicated television tabloid talk show hosted by Jerry Springer, a former politician, broadcast in the United States and other countries.[1] It is videotaped at the Stamford Media Center in Stamford, Connecticut[2] and is distributed by NBC Universal Television Distribution, although it is not currently broadcast on any NBC-owned stations.

The Jerry Springer Show is ostensibly a talk show where troubled or dysfunctional families come to discuss their problems before a studio audience so that the audience or host can offer suggestions on what can be done to resolve their situations. In actuality, the show has come to epitomize the so-called "trash TV talk show",[1] as each episode of the show focuses on topics such as adultery, zoophilia,[3] divorce, homophobia, homosexuality, incest, infidelity, pedophilia, pornography, prostitution, racism, strange fetishes, dwarfism, or transvestism, which frequently result in fighting between guests. At one point, the show proudly boasted that it was voted the "Worst TV Show Ever" by TV Guide magazine. The show also bragged to be "an hour of your life you'll never get back". The Jerry Springer Show has received widespread criticism and caused many controversies for a variety of reasons including its elements of prurience, foul language and the exploitation of the vulnerable.[4]

On November 5, 2009, it was announced that Springer was picked up by NBC Universal through the 2011-2012 season.[5]

Production

File:Jerry Springer at Emory.jpg

Format

A typical episode of Springer begins with a title card warning parents that the show may contain content inappropriate material for children. After the cuts to Springer entering the stage, usually being greeted by audience applause and the "Je-rry!, Je-rry!" chant. Once the audience settles down, he welcomes the viewer to the show, introduces a particular situation, and interviews a guest who is experiencing it. After finishing the interview, Springer announces the entrance of another guest whom the first guest would like to confront. The second guest enters the stage, and a confrontation between the two guests usually occurs, often breaking down into a brawl that is eventually broken up by on-set security personnel. Once the fight is broken up, Springer interviews the second guest about the situation faced by the first guest.

This cycle is repeated about twice for other sets of guests on the show. Once all guests have told their stories, there is usually a "question and answer" segment where audience members ask guests questions relevant to their situations, although usually their questions come to insult a guest or they flash the audience in exchange for "Jerry Beads" (Mardi Gras style beads with the show logo). Finally, Springer ends the show with a segment titled "Final Thought"[6], in which he shares his feelings about the stories he has heard for the day's show. He ends the segment with the concluding statement, "Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other".

Generally, Springer tends to present his program standing up in the stands rather than the main stage. (This is thought to be to protect himself from the potential violence occurring on the stage)[6]

Sometimes the show will have a look back at previous episodes. These have been rebranded as Classic Springer. These shows are interspersed with commentary from Springer himself, usually before and after commercial breaks.

Set

The set for the show has had two major changes over the years. When the show first started in 1991, it was very basic with white walls, in an effort to capture the feel of fellow talk show Donahue, Jerry's haircut and glasses even seeming to make him look like Phil Donahue. The general look of this set was carried over when the series first moved to Chicago in September 1992, with an unpolished, open air look and bright colored shapes.

In the Fall of 1994, a few months after the series underwent its format overhaul, the studio received a makeover to make it look a bit warmer and more inviting, complete with brick walls, artwork, and bookcases. The stage walls were designed so that they could be projected outward into the audience, making room for a catwalk that was used in shows such as the 1998 episode Stripper Wars!. In late 2000, the whole set was changed again to its current "industrial" look, changes initially welcomed due to the reduced ratings of the 1999-2000 season. In 2007, the set was slightly changed, with a larger studio audience, bigger stage, and a balcony, which was above the stage and ended at the pole. Springer now uses this as his main entrance by sliding down the pole. The logo and stage design have been carried across to the new studio in Connecticut with only a few changes.

Security

Steve "Bamdino" Wilkos was the director of security from 1994-2007. After Wilkos' departure to host The Steve Wilkos Show, Jimmy Sherlock took the position from 2007–present. As of the latest season, season 19, the primary security officer is Pete Kelly, while Jason Brandstetter is the secondary officer. Kelly sits on the middle chair in the first row, while Brandstetter sits on the right Side of the middle first row. Both Kelly and Brandstetter are Chicago police officers.

History

1990s

The Jerry Springer Show debuted on September 30, 1991, with a family reunion as its first show. Initially, Springer was distributed by Multimedia Entertainment, later going to the former Universal and then to Studios USA.[7]

File:Jerry springer logos.jpg

Originally seen in only the four markets where Multimedia owned TV stations, it started as an issues-oriented and somewhat political talk show, a longer version of the commentary for which Springer had gained local fame as a reporter and anchor, and for its first season, was even taped at Springer's former station, WLWT in Cincinnati.[8] Guests early on included Oliver North and Jesse Jackson, and the topics included homelessness and gun politics[9][10], as well as the social effects of rock music, featuring shock rock stars like GG Allin[11][12], El Duce from The Mentors and GWAR as guests.[13] For its second season in the Fall of 1992, the series was purchased by the NBC owned-and-operated stations, thus allowing it to finally achieve full national clearance, and production was moved to its longtime home at Chicago's NBC Tower (with Springer leaving his longtime position at WLWT in order to do so). However, ratings remained low and by April 1994, Multimedia threatened cancellation if ratings didn't improve by that November, which led to an overhaul that saw original producer Burt Dubrow's departure and replacement by fellow Springer producer Richard Dominick. The search for higher ratings gradually led the program towards provocative and confrontational topics, becoming more successful as it became geared towards youthful viewers (in the vein of Ricki Lake's show). After the first fight between two racists occurred unexpectedly, during a 1993 episode about racists, this caused ratings to soar. The producers capitalized on this by allowing fights between guests, although they weren't as common, and were usually edited out of the show. During this time, the show also still covered issues that were more sensitive and respectable through about 1996.[8] It became a "freak show" where guests seek their 15 minutes of fame through discussion and demonstrations of deviant behavior.[14] Its extraordinary success has led it to be broadcast in dozens of countries. The show gained so much popularity that for a while it was the top-rated daytime talk show in the United States.[1]

Controversies over authenticity and violence

In the late 1990s, the show was quite popular and controversial, so much so that it caused contemporaries like Jenny Jones, Maury Povich, and Ricki Lake to "revamp" their own shows in order to improve ratings.[15] However, major figures in television, along with many religious preachers, had called for the show's removal and considered it to be of bad taste.[6]

In 1997 and 1998, the show reached its ratings peak, at one point becoming the first talk show in years to beat The Oprah Winfrey Show.[16] However, it had since been featuring almost non-stop fighting between guests, triggering mass protests from TV personalities and some priests.[6] The Chicago City Council suggested that if the fistfights and chair-throwing were real, then the guests should be arrested for committing acts of violence in the city, as alderman Ed Burke was concerned over the fact that the off-duty Chicago police officers serving as security guards for the program failed to take legal action against fighting guests.[17] Springer explained that the violence on the program "look[ed] real" to him, also arguing that the fighting on the show "never, ever, ever glamourizes violence".[18] Ultimately, the City Council chose not to pursue the matter.[18] Because of this probe and other external and internal pressures, the fighting was taken off the show temporarily before being allowed again in a less violent nature.[19][20] In the years of the show having toned down the fights, viewership has declined but remains respectable by newer standards of daytime television ratings.[21][22]

There has been continuous debate over the actual authenticity of the fighting. Marvin Kitman, television critic for the Newsday newspaper, felt that the fighting had been choreographed beforehand.[14] Christopher Sterling of the George Washington University media department compared the program to professional wrestling; in fact many of the producers later on admitted the fights in the show were inspired by the fights and angles in the WWE.[14] Sixteen former guests of The Jerry Springer Show, who were interviewed on various U.S. media outlets such as the entertainment news program Extra, Rolling Stone magazine, and The New York Post newspaper, even claimed there was a "fight quota" for each episode and that they and other guests were encouraged to fight one another.[23] Springer himself even admitted in an October 2000 interview with the Reuters news agency: Template:Cquote

In his autobiography, Ringmaster, Springer himself reveals that the show's guests undergo intense screening before appearing on-set; most Springer guests are required to show evidence that their story is true, or at least plausible. Additionally, Springer has stopped the show entirely on at least two occasions—one such occasion occurred when one guest, who boasted that he could make almost anyone a successful porn star, claimed that he could also do it with children. Outraged, Springer walked off the set and refused to continue taping, and later issued an apology to the viewers.

Early 2000s

In 2000, Springer was given a five-year, $30 million contract extension paying him $6 million per year.[24] The same year, a married couple, Ralf and Eleanor Panitz, were guests on an episode of the show entitled "Secret Mistresses Confronted" with Mr. Panitz's ex-wife, Nancy Campbell-Panitz, in which they complained about Ms. Campbell-Panitz's behavior and accused her of stalking them. Hours after it was broadcast on July 24, 2000, Ms. Campbell-Panitz was found dead in a home that the three were fighting over, and Florida police soon confirmed that they were treating the death as homicide.[25] It was then reported that Mr. Panitz, having been issued a first-degree murder warrant for the death, was trying to flee to Canada to avoid prosecution.[26] Upon news of the 52-year old woman's murder, a spokeswoman for the program issued a statement saying it was "a terrible tragedy."[27]

In August 2000, Springer appeared on CNN's Larry King Live to discuss the incident, claiming that it "had nothing to do with the show" and that his talk show does not glamorize deviant behavior.[28] On March 27, 2002, after 18 hours of deliberating from jurors, Mr. Panitz was convicted of the murder after a 10-day trial and sentenced to life.[29]

In 2001, efforts from groups like the Parents Television Council and American Family Association made some advertisers decrease or stop their sponsorship of Springer.[30] For the United Kingdom, the Independent Television Commission banned Springer and other tabloid talk programs from being shown on television during daytime hours on school holidays in response to numerous parental complaints and concerns about children's potential exposure to the salacious content (there was a British version of the show made for ITV which was lighter and more tongue-in-cheek).[31] The show also topped TV Guide magazine's 2002 list of "The Worst TV Shows Ever".[32] The phrase "Jerry Springer Nation" began to be used by some who see the program as being a bad influence on the morality of the United States.[33] In addition, the phrase has shown the association of Springer with any "lowbrow" type of entertainment in general.[34][35]

In 2003, a British opera inspired by the series, Jerry Springer: The Opera, began playing in the United Kingdom.[36] The same year, it was revealed that a group of guests from Hayward, California faked a "love triangle" for an appearance on two episodes of the show; one guest in the group was murdered, but Hayward police determined that his appearance was not connected to his murder.[37]

By 2005, security director Steve Wilkos became sort of a cult figure on his own, and would close each show walking down a hallway engaging in casual talk with one of the more colorful guests of the preceding episode. He also would occasionally host the show. Episodes that he hosted were intended to be more serious in tone than the typical Springer show.[38] Wilkos left Springer at the end of the 2006-2007 season to pursue his own self-titled talk show.[39]

Mid-2000s to present

In 2005, the program became a subject of criticism in Bernard Goldberg's book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, being called "TV's lowest life-form"[40] and Springer himself being ranked at #32 and labeled an "American Pioneer".[41] Goldberg also claimed that Springer was knowingly capitalizing on the disadvantages of his guests and the stupidity of his audience, also citing the controversial episode revolving around the man who married his horse.[42]

In January 2006, the show was renewed for its sixteenth season, ending speculation that Springer would leave his talk show to run for elected office in Ohio, where he is the former mayor of Cincinnati.[21] On May 12, 2006, Springer celebrated his show's 3,000th episode by throwing a party on the show (which no one but Jerry showed up to humorously), and showed many clips, including rare excerpts from the first episode.[43]

In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, a Commercial High Court trial was scheduled for summer 2006 to resolve a dispute between Flextech Television and NBC Universal over Flextech in 2002 cancelling its 1998 contract to broadcast Springer in the UK as long as new episodes continued to be produced in the U.S.[44]

In 2007, security director Wilkos left Jerry Springer to host his own syndicated talk show.The Steve Wilkos Show was also shot at the NBC Tower in Chicago and produced by Richard Dominick, who continued to produce Springer as well. On July 15, 2007, it was announced that Springer was picked up by NBC-Universal through the 2009-2010 season.[45] Also, VH1 ran a documentary series The Springer Hustle, going "behind the scenes" of the show[46], having already run another Springer-related documentary in 2005 titled When Jerry Springer Ruled the World.[47] Springer's appearance on the NBC television network show America's Got Talent led to an increase in viewership for the first quarter of 2007.[22] Steve Wilkos filled in for Springer during the beginning of America's Got Talent.

A recurring character, the comical "Reverend Shnorr" (played by Director of On-Air Promotions, Brian Schnorr), was introduced in 2006 to perform weddings on the program and "counsel" certain guests on "Biblical values".[48][49] The security staff for the program also was given new additions, as starting in the seventeenth season, three female security guards were added.[50] Certain professional athletes have come on the show as one-off security guards for some episodes. They include hockey players Joe Corvo[51] and Adam Burish, and mixed martial arts fighters Andrei Arlovski[52] , Shonie Carter[53], and Bas Rutten.

Certain advertisers continue to avoid buying ad time for Springer.[54] However, the show has continued to keep steady ratings in the February 2008 "Sweeps" period.[55]

Executive producer Richard Dominick resigned shortly after the start of the 18th season; Rachelle Consiglio, wife of Steve Wilkos and longtime Senior Producer, replaced Dominick. The set decorations added during the 17th season were removed.[56]

In May 2009 Richard Dominick Productions announced they would be staging a worldwide search for the next Jerry Springer. Dominick has teamed up with an Australian based international production company and as such plans to start the search Down Under.[57]

On May 19, 2009 the show recorded its last episode at WMAQ-TV's NBC Tower in Chicago, Illinois, where it had been recorded since early 1993, midway through the second season.[58] Beginning with the 2009-10 season, production was moved to the Stamford Media Center in Stamford, Connecticut. Jerry was quoted as saying he was not happy with the move, but understood the financial reasons for which it was being done, and is working to secure jobs for those on his staff who wish to move with the show. Since filming at Stamford Media Center, the show's set has been revamped, becoming more highly colored with new lighting, the theme music has changed, and the logo shown in the bottom left corner for the duration of the show has become 3-D.

Censorship

Springer is syndicated on various stations in the United States at various times of the day, whether in the morning, afternoon, or late evening. All syndicated episodes of Springer are edited for content for broadcast regardless of broadcast time to comply with U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations regarding the broadcast of indecency and obscenity. Initially, profanity or other explicit language on the program was bleeped out, but later episodes used muting to edit out explicit language; in fact, mute censors can extend as far as to remove a group of many words or even an entire sentence, thus making some speech incomprehensible. In addition, nudity and the partial exposure of breasts or buttocks are pixelized out. After longtime producer Richard Dominick left, they reverted back to the traditional bleeping method that was used in the past, which remains in place to this day.

Springer himself has stated that, while his show is a bit wild, there are certain things that are not permitted: the audience is not allowed to shout anything that encourages or sustains violence among the guests, and though furniture may be pushed aside, the chairs are purposely large to preclude their use as a weapon. Also, men being violent against women is never acceptable, on or off camera—in Ringmaster, Jerry mentions that he always asks if the woman wants to press charges.

Too Hot For TV

During the show's most popular era in the late 1990s, The Jerry Springer Show released videotapes and later DVDs marketed as Too Hot for TV. They contained uncensored nudity, profanity, and violence that was edited out from broadcast to conform to FCC standards for broadcast decency. The releases sold remarkably well[59] and inspired similar sets from other series. Eventually, the show started producing similar "uncensored" monthly pay-per-view/video on demand specials as well.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dixon, Mary. Trash TV? Salt Lake City Weekly: May 26, 1998.
  2. Template:Cite news
  3. Springer's latest: 'I Married a Horse'. The Cincinnati Post: May 21, 1998
  4. Template:Cite BAILII
  5. Template:Cite news
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Template:Cite news
  7. Template:Cite news
  8. 8.0 8.1 TV Guide biography on Springer
  9. Jerry Springer Show
  10. Elder, Larry. Who's faking whom? Jewish World Review: April 30, 1998.
  11. Jerry Springer episode from May 5, 1993 from IMDB
  12. Template:Cite web
  13. Template:Cite episode
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Template:Cite news
  15. Template:Cite news
  16. Template:Cite news
  17. Template:Cite news
  18. 18.0 18.1 Template:Cite news
  19. Template:Cite news
  20. Template:Cite news
  21. 21.0 21.1 Template:Cite web
  22. 22.0 22.1 Template:Cite web
  23. Template:Cite news
  24. Schlosser, Joe. Springer reups with Studios USA. Broadcasting & Cable: April 10, 2000
  25. Police hunt for Springer guests. BBC News: July 26, 2000.
  26. Potter, Mark. Springer guest wanted in murder trying to flee to Canada, authorities say. CNN: July 27, 2000.
  27. Silverman, Stephen M. 'Springer' Guests Sought in Slaying. People: August 19, 2000.
  28. Template:Cite episode
  29. 'Jerry Springer' Murder Conviction. CBS News: March 27, 2002
  30. Downey, Kevin. Here they are, TV's Dirty Dozen. Media Life Magazine: January 29, 2001.
  31. Template:Cite news
  32. CBS News The Worst TV Shows Ever
  33. Template:Cite web
  34. Myers, Kenneth. Is television worth watching? Helium.com
  35. Template:Cite web Bozell wrote the article criticizing the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner, explaining "the ratings (at least compared to the usual Comedy Central gunk) were good, so they replayed this sleazy spectacle over and over again in heavy rotation until every member of Jerry Springer Nation had watched it twice."
  36. Template:Cite news
  37. Template:Cite news
  38. Template:Cite web
  39. Template:Cite news
  40. Template:Cite book
  41. Ibid., 208.
  42. Ibid., 209.
  43. Template:Cite press release
  44. Template:Cite news
  45. Template:Cite news
  46. The Springer Hustle | Get Info About the TV Series, Find Info on the TV Show Episode | VH1.com
  47. When ___ Ruled The World | Get Info About the Jerry Springer Episode, Find Info on the TV Show Online | VH1.com
  48. Rev. Shnorr
  49. Noe, Denise. The Jerry Springer Show's Rev. Shnorr character is a creation of anti-Christian bigotry. Men's News Daily: Sept. 6, 2007.
  50. Template:Cite web
  51. Template:Cite episode
  52. Template:Cite episode
  53. Template:Cite episode
  54. Template:Cite news
  55. Template:Cite web
  56. Template:Cite news
  57. Template:Cite news
  58. Template:Cite news
  59. Bianculli, David. It's a Circus: Is Jerry Springer's No-Holds-Barred Talk Show Harmless Populist Escapism, the End of Civilization as we know it, or both? New York Daily News: February 8, 1998

External links

Template:The Jerry Springer Show


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