From ID Host To TV Judge: 5 Things To Know About Jerry Springer

Intriguing facts about the former host of ID's “Tabloid” who's now TV's “Judge Jerry.”

September 09, 2019

Photo by: Jerry Springer [Investigation Discovery]

Jerry Springer [Investigation Discovery]

By: Mike McPadden

TV icon Jerry Springer is most famous for "The Jerry Springer Show," a wild-and-woolly knockabout talk show that just ended its frequently controversial 27-season run this past July.

Now with his self-titled talk show behind him, Springer, 75, is set to don a robe and bang a gavel as the decision-making official on "Judge Jerry." The new syndicated courtroom show is reportedly cleared to run in 99% of U.S. markets.

Springer, a former attorney, told TV Line that "Judge Jerry" will be a good time, but he'll be taking the cases seriously. He said, "My [daytime talk] show that I did for 27 years, it was fun, but it didn't require any brainpower. But these are real cases, and I [tape] 35 cases a week, so it's like I'm back practicing law again or back in law school … Obviously, we pick out the most interesting cases, but it's not a food fight. People dress as if they're really going to court, because it really is a court."

As "Judge Jerry" joins the ranks of Judge Judy and Judge Wapner, here are five facts about Springer, starting with his history at Investigation Discovery.

1. Jerry Springer Hosted "Tabloid," An ID Show That Explored Sensational True Crime Headlines

In 2014, Investigation Discovery tapped Jerry Springer to host "Tabloid," a series that exposed the facts behind especially shocking and outrageous true crime stories.

A press release announcing "Tabloid" read, in part: "Scandalous headlines. Surreal true-life stories. Who doesn't scan the supermarket tabloids in the checkout line?... Hosted by the Emmy Award–winning king of tabloid television, Jerry Springer, 'Tabloid' peels back the curtain to probe the most bizarre larger-than-life stories you can't possibly imagine."

"You can't make this stuff up," Springer said of the show. "Life invariably outruns imagination when it comes to outrageousness."

All 20 episodes of Investigation Discovery's "Tabloid" are available to watch now on ID GO!

2. A Sex Scandal Temporarily Derailed Jerry Springer's Political Career — Then Reportedly Helped Get It Back On Track

After working as an advisor for Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968, Jerry Springer later ran for office himself in Ohio. In 1971, Cincinnati voters elected Springer to the city council, where he served for the next three years.

Springer reportedly stepped down from the position abruptly on April 29, 1974. At a press conference the following day, Springer reportedly alluded to a "prostitution investigation at a health club in Fort Wright."

He told reporters, "When I resigned yesterday, I did so because I believed then as I believe now that there are some problems which are better faced as a private citizen."

Springer reportedly later testified in court that he paid illegal sex workers with two personal checks in December 1973 and January 1974. He allegedly identified one $50 check and said, "It was in exchange for an act of prostitution." Springer then reportedly identified a $25 check as his own and stated he wrote it for "for sexual relations."

Still, Springer's exile reportedly did not last long. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, "In 1975, Springer made one of the biggest political comebacks in Cincinnati history, winning back his seat on the city council. His sincere and direct television ads directly addressing the issue were credited for the win." [The Cincinnati Enquirer]

3. Mayor Jerry Springer Presided Over Cincinnati From 1977 To 1981

The post-comeback Jerry Springer proved so popular that he was elected mayor of Cincinnati — although not by the public. As reported by Haaretz, "In those years, it was the [city] council, rather than a popular vote, that determined who the mayor would be, and in 1977, the council selected Springer."

Springers time as mayor ended in 1981. The following year, Springer unsuccessfully attempted to win the Democratic Party nomination as a candidate for governor of Ohio. [Haaretz]

4. Powerful Politicians Called For “The Jerry Springer Show” To Be Cancelled

At the 1998 National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas, two high-profile political figures — former US Senator Joe Lieberman (D- and I-Conn.) and former US Education Secretary William Bennett (R) — spoke out against "The Jerry Springer Show."

Their political affiliations made their appearance something of a bipartisan event.

In regard to "The Jerry Springer Show," Lieberman reportedly told the gathered broadcasters: "Set a floor below which you'll not go to make a profit … The kind of perversity and violence on that show every day has to have a bad effect on the people and children who watch it."

Two weeks before the convention, Lieberman and Bennett reportedly announced their "Silver Sewer Award" for America's "worst cultural polluters" and gave it to Seagram Inc., specifically citing the company's professional connection to "The Jerry Springer Show."

Regardless of the Silver Sewer, "The Jerry Springer Show" ran for 21 more years. [New York Daily News]

5. "Jerry Springer: The Opera" Has Been Playing To Audiences — & Protests — Since 2003

"Jerry Springer: The Opera," a large-scale theatrical musical inspired by the talk show, opened to rave reviews in London in 2003 where it played for two years before touring the UK in 2006.

Protestors regularly picketed performances over material that reportedly included "8,000 profanities … tap-dancers dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, and a showdown between Satan and a diaper-wearing Jesus."

An uncensored BBC broadcast of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" reportedly drew complaints from 45,000 viewers.

In 2007, a concert version of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" opened in Las Vegas. A 2008 New York production featured Hollywood star Harvey Keitel in the title role for two performances at Carnegie Hall.

The Guardian positively reviewed an August 2019 UK revival of the show under the headline: "Chat Show From Hell Still Shocks." [Mental Floss]

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