C'mon Jerry, are you just faking it?
Mr Springer's show features real life people Telling All. All is often too much for the partners, lovers and spouses who accompany them, and fights regularly break out as Lamar discovers that LuAnne is a transvestite, married to someone else, having it away with the local youth soccer team, or all three. Chairs fly, hair is torn and clothes are ripped. It is all most entertaining.
But the good people of the Chicago City Council, prompted by a complaint, wanted to find out if these fights were real. If they were, then security guards should break them up. If they were not, then Mr Springer was a sham and he needed an entertainment licence.
Alderman Edward Burke tried repeatedly to pin down Mr Springer, while the host himself deftly avoided the questions. "My show is overall for real," he said. It "seems real to me". Asked if he would stop the violence, as requested by the network which runs the programme, he said: "I don't know. They say no. They're the boss." For his part, Mr Springer was clearly irritated by questions about his salary and contract, saying: "I'm not sure this is your business." And he was fiercely defensive of the value of the programme.
Indeed, he argued that his show was in fact a morality play. "There's a lot of wrestling and rolling around that goes on on the show. I'll admit that. But I suggest that the violence we see in other media such as television dramas and movies never looks very bad. To most viewers watching it looks very enticing.
"The people who fight on my show never look glamorous. The guy loses the girl. The audience boos the person who can't act correctly and berates the person. I do a commentary at the end of the show. No other programme or movie can say they do that."
The hearings rapidly tumbled into chaos, as fans clapped and cheered while the council lost its collective temper. At one point a councillor loudly complained that another had interrupted. "Hit her with a chair," advised Mr Springer.
Those who know him only as the Titan of Trash would be startled by his resume. Born in London in 1944 after his family fled Europe to escape the Nazis, he moved to the US five years later. He put his law degree to good use working for Senator Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign, and later helped get the Constitution amended to lower the voting age to 18. At 33, he was the mayor of Cincinnati. He went on to be one of the city's most respected TV journalists, winning seven Emmy awards.
But since 1991, his career has taken a different and more lucrative turn, taking him where other networks feared to tread. In truth, there is much worse rubbish available these days ("When Good Pets Go Bad," etc). Anyway, as Mr Springer reminded us, "It's just television." When asked if film of the meeting would end up on his show, he just shrugged and said: "Maybe. If it's good."
Life & Style blogs
Plus live in a folly tower and Towcester growth
Plus how much you need to earn to rent in London, and new homes figures
Plus where The Apprentices live, house price growth outside London, and househunter numbers
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 Amir Khan interview: 'One second could end my boxing career'
- 4 Groundhog day looms for Arsène Wenger as Arsenal battle for a place in the Champions League on final day
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...