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TV host Jerry Springer dies aged 79

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Jerry Springer, best known for his raucous TV talk shows, has died aged 79.

The controversial presenter hosted The Jerry Springer Show for nearly three decades from 1991.

Springer died peacefully on Thursday at his home in Chicago, his publicists confirmed to BBC News.

In a statement, Jene Galvin, a friend of Springer’s and spokesman for the family, described him as “irreplaceable”.

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“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” he said.

“He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humour will live on.”

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Springer’s chat show became a symbol of low-brow television with its on-air fights, swearing and infidelity revelations.

In 2003, a musical based on the chaotic TV series was launched. Jerry Springer: The Opera ran for 609 performances in London from April 2003 to February 2005 before touring the UK in 2006.

It won four Olivier awards including best new musical. In January 2005, its UK television broadcast on BBC Two attracted 55,000 complaints.

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Jerry Springer: The Opera provoked accusations of blasphemy and protests from religious campaigners. But broadcast regulator Ofcom said it did not breach its guidelines.

Last October, he starred in the US version of The Masked Singer – one of his final TV appearances.

Springer was born in Highgate, London, in 1944 to Jewish refugees from a region of Germany which is now part of Poland.

He started his professional life working in politics, having studied both political science and law at university.

He was an advisor to Robert F Kennedy, and served as mayor of Cincinnati from 1977-78, but after a failed bid as governor of Ohio he switched to a career in TV journalism.

He became a reporter at a local TV station and worked his way up to being an anchor.

Launched in 1991, The Jerry Springer Show began life as an ordinary talk show focusing on social issues and US politics, led by the-then mild mannered Springer.

But in an effort to boost ratings, Springer switched things up dramatically after a few years, focusing on salacious and outrageous content.

In most episodes, guests came to talk about family problems and expose adultery and other transgressions.

Springer would supposedly try to mediate but the encounters often ended up in fist-fights, with guests being held back by security guards.

In the late 1990s the show topped the daytime television ratings in the US, beating even Oprah. It ended its run in 2018.

From 2007 to 2008, Springer hosted America’s Got Talent, and in recent years he fronted the courtroom show Judge Jerry.

Political commentator David Axelrod tweeted: “Jerry Springer will be remembered as the ringmaster of an embarrassing, tabloid-style TV show.

“But I met him earlier, when he was a mayor and insurgent progressive candidate for governor of Ohio in a race I covered. He was funny, self-effacing & incisive.”

YouTuber KSI said: “RIP Jerry Springer. You made my off days at school so much more entertaining.”

TV presenter Matthew Wright recalled how he “went to see Jerry Springer the opera with Jerry Springer, who loved every second”, adding: “Top fella, a great deputy on [Channel 5 show] The Wright Stuff, hope he rests in peace.”

US TV host Montel Williams added: “My thoughts and prayers go out to Jerry Springer’s family.”

News, BBC. “TV Host Jerry Springer Dies Aged 79.” Kbc, 2023. https://www.kbc.co.ke/news/international-news/article/38330/tv-host-jerry-springer-dies-aged-79.

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