C'mon Jerry, are you just faking it?
Sunday 06 June 1999
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."
When it comes to promoting equality of the sexes, we tend to think that we’ve come a long way in the past 40 years.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Winter crisis in A&E: Hospitals declare 'black alerts' as admissions shatter records, but full stats still unpublished
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg
Unpaid make-up artists reveal the ugly side of Miss World
Google launches 'Contributor' payment service for ad-free internet browsing
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...