Jerry Springer has left the studio… for now.
The cancellation of “Judge Jerry” after three seasons leaves Springer without a home theater for the first time since the launch of “The Jerry Springer Show” in 1991 – its host “The Ringmaster” of its noisy daytime circus for the next 27 years.
“Right now, I’m just taking a little time to explore this retirement thing,” Springer told the Post. “I’m 78 and NBC/Universal has been so amazing to me. I’ve been on TV for 40 years now, 10 [years] on the news and then 31 years on our shows.
“I’d be embarrassed to say, ‘Why can’t I go on for another year or two?’ I’ll see how much I adapt [to retirement] and if not, I’m doing other projects… I keep getting calls, ‘Would you consider that?’ But right now I’m really taking a break for the next month.”
Springer continues to host “The Jerry Springer Podcast” — his commentary appears as a column in the Cincinnati Enquirer (he was the city’s mayor from 1977-1978 and was a news anchor for its NBC affiliate WLWT for ten years) — and starting next month it will become ” Piers Morgan Uncensored, Morgan’s new streaming talk show.
“Maybe I’ll expand the podcast because that’s definitely something I have to do every week,” he said. “I just don’t know at this point that I want to start a full-time job. I’m not saying I won’t – if a wonderful offer comes along, I could say, “Gosh, that would be great” – but right now I’m spending as much time as I can with my grandson, Richard. He’s down here [in Florida] for two weeks and then he goes to IMG, the baseball camp [in Bradenton]. He’s 13 by 20. He’s already 6 feet tall and he’s an exceptional baseball player, so he’s going to follow this for as long as he wants and of course we’re going to support him.”
He said his family has been waiting for him to take that kind of break.
“We joke, but for the past few years they’ve been like, ‘What’s this all about?’ he said. “Now of course we can watch all of Richard’s games, we can travel together… there are really some wonderful benefits of staying healthy – otherwise it’s depressing.”
The Jerry Springer Show ended its line of originals in 2018 — its popular syndicated reruns will continue to air for the foreseeable future — and in 2019 Springer launched Judge Jerry, a courtroom show taped in Stamford, Connecticut. (in the same studio as “Maury”, which also just ended its run after 31 years). After a strong start, “Judge Jerry” slowly ran out of breath.
“The first year was wonderful, and the last two years when the pandemic hit and we weren’t allowed to have an audience and couldn’t have the plaintiff and the defendant in the courtroom… we were trying to force something that wasn’t going to flow naturally,” he said. “I’ve spoken to parties thousands of miles away – wherever the charges were filed was where we placed the cameras – and you have that lag, no audience and [me] sitting in front of a green screen. It wasn’t what I first imagined.
“But the reality was also that I was up against myself,” he said. “There’s still ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ in most markets, it’s stuck, and there’s only so much of me that a normal person can stomach. It was a containment problem; If I wanted to be so crazy on this show, how can I suddenly be serious on the bench?
“People might well be done with me after 31 years,” he said. “It was my pleasure [‘Judge Jerry’], no question, but the industry is not based on: ‘Man, are you having fun with it?’ It didn’t make the money it made in the beginning. I totally get it. Honestly I think what I will miss the most is the people I worked with in Stamford. We had a great camaraderie and every Monday night I would take her out to dinner.
“So now they’re starving because I won’t buy them dinner anymore,” he said. “They keep texting me, ‘I’m picking up. Come back!'”
Springer said he knew how he would be remembered in daytime television history.
“Of course, if you’re best known for legacy, I’m best known for the crazy show,” he said, alluding to “The Jerry Springer Show.” “In a way, I’ve become an adjective in the English language when people say ‘I’m having a Jerry Springer moment’ or when they say ‘Don’t make Jerry Springer on me.’ Everyone knows immediately what they are talking about.
“The greatest job I’ve ever had was being the mayor of Cincinnati, and if God had come to me and said, ‘You can do one thing and you can do it all your life,’ I would have chosen it.” , he said. “The issue with ‘legacy’ is that it’s just licentiousness — the truth is that none of us 20 years into our lives will be remembered for the rest of eternity unless we were a president or someone. If you ask people what their great-grandmother’s maiden name is, less than 1 percent of the population will know — and that’s your own family.
“The most important thing is to be remembered by your children and grandchildren. If they love me and remember me and I’ve been a good example to them, that’s all that matters,” he said. “Everything else is just imagination. It’s embarrassing to say “my legacy”. It’s not like 50 years from now people are going to be like, ‘Boy, thank God we had Jerry Springer.’
“As long as the crazy show goes on, I will be a part of the fabric of our culture’s memories.”