When it was announced that long-time daytime talk-show host
and former politician Jerry Springer died a few days ago, I am not sure that
many tears were shed. It is not that he was a bad guy, but his contribution to
society may not be something that needs praise or is worthy of mourning.
For 27 years, concluding in 2018, the nationally syndicated and morally bankrupted television show known as The Jerry Springer Show, paraded around freak shows that made most viewers cringe or feel anger, and sometimes sympathy.
It was a show of confrontation, jealousy, hate, and sadness, showcasing the worst America had to offer. From paternity exposes and outing cheating lovers, to shows about dysfunctional families and despised criminals, most episodes featured unlikeable people.
Whereas his early contemporaries, Phil Donohue and Oprah Winfrey, had real issues debated by experts and ordinary people, Jerry went for giving a mic to people who did bad things or were ostracized outcasts.
He was more trashier than Montel Williams, less substantive than Geraldo Rivera, and more violent than the Morton Downey Jr Show. Jerry’s circus act featured daily confrontations that were set up by producers, where fights would suddenly break out on stage. Jerry’s show is probably the record-holder for the most thrown chairs on TV.
Jerry’s show was not a true talk show. There were no experts brought on. Only Jerry would be their to mediate and incite the shameless guests who aired dirty laundry involving sordid, embarrassing, and reprehensible acts.
He also had oddities on his show, from sex addicts and strippers to midgets and someone who wed a horse. There was the man who cut off his penis and a porn star who set a record for bedding the most sexual partners in a day.
Why did we watch this crazy show?
He showed us the car wreck that we simply couldn’t look away from.
America loves to trash others and this show made it easy for audiences to feel their lives were better off and normal by comparison to what got paraded across our television sets.
The show was the worst of its kind, appealing to our dark side. But it got huge ratings — and made him lots of money. The former mayor of Cincinnati died with a net worth of over $60M.
His show proved a few adages true:
Never underestimate how low and dumb we can get with our entertainment.
We are drawn to the extremes, the odd, the losers — we need someone to villainize.
Daytime TV and politics are very similar — they both feature trashy people who give us someone to yell at.
May Jerry rest in peace. Now change the channel!
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter
@theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and
raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and
Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer
and IBPA’s The Independent. This
award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts
over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by
BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018
as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com
as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as
the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two
jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time,
self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors
and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine
Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren
Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy,
Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for
Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers
Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod
Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and
Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have
been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY
Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington
Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.
For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.