It's the cry we've come to know and love, whether it's our guilty pleasure or something we watch religiously. 'The Jerry Springer Show' -- which inexplicably celebrates its 20th anniversary on September 30 -- still manages to hit humanity's basest nerves with out-there guests, even two decades later.
Unlike predecessors 'The Jenny Jones Show' and 'Sally Jesse Raphael,' which fell victim to an off-screen murder and low ratings (respectively), 'Springer' has managed to survive the omnipresence of the internet and a zillion muck-racking reality TV shows. It's hard to believe that's possible, especially since TV Guide voted it the "#1 Worst TV Show of All Time."
AOL TV tried to find the answers to the obvious questions -- Is the show for real? How has it lasted? What's Springer like when he's "off"? And how long is he planning on hosting this show? -- by attending the taping of an episode. We share what we found out, after the jump.
Apparently, This Show Is for Real
So, this is the ultimate question -- are the incessant fights, ridiculous arguments and outrageous guests for real? Springer himself says they are. "We have so many lawyers involved with this show, it can't not be real." That's not to say that fighting isn't encouraged (it is), and guests aren't pre-screened (they are). Basically 'Springer' looks for people who want to settle their personal issues on-camera. Potential guests of the show with particularly "sappy" stories will be sent to another daytime show.
Filmed in Stamford, Connecticut (in the same studio as 'Maury Povich' and 'The Steve Wilkos Show'), attending a taping of 'The Jerry Springer Show' is an experience. You're shuttled into a waiting area for approximately 30 minutes, but it's anything but boring. They show you some best-of 'Springer' uncensored footage, and it's like watching train wreck upon train wreck. After you're riled up enough and in "the mood," they move you into the studio, where Springer himself warms you up further with some groan-worthy stand-up ("I have a very big... wallet"). A few things to note if you do decide to attend a taping: your throat will hurt afterwards (yelling, laughing), you will probably be on TV and it's pretty much a guarantee you'll see some nudity.
The Longevity of Jerry Springer
Springer made some calculations: he estimates he's had about 40,000 guests over his show's 20-year lifespan. "That's a lot of dysfunction!" he exclaims. And he doesn't see it slowing down any time soon, though his daytime contract does expire in 2014. "I told the producers I'll quit hosting when I turn 114."
It's hard to believe, but there are 510 episodes of 'Springer.' The "formula" of outrageous topics and uber-violent guests in the show's heyday (the late '90s) helped him beat 'Oprah Winfrey' in national ratings. Numbers have fallen since then, though, with his show averaging a little more than 2 million viewers last year.
The Weirder the Better
Things don't ever seem to calm down on 'Springer.' The stuff we see in current-era 'Springer' (mostly relationship- and affair-related) is actually rather tame compared to the early-era themes. The most outrageous things ever shown on 'Springer'? The blind man that married a horse, midget twin sister lesbians, the man who cheated with over 55 women and the infamous "Threesomes With Grandma" episode.
- Jerry Springer, 'The Jerry Springer Show'
- Maury Povich, 'Maury'
- Oprah Winfrey, 'Oprah Winfrey'
- Rosie O' Donnell, 'The Rosie O'Donnell Show'
- Ellen DeGeneres, 'Ellen'
- Montel Williams, 'The Montel Williams Show'
- Ricki Lake, 'Ricki Lake'
- Jenny Jones, 'The Jenny Jones Show'
- Sally Jesse Raphael, 'Sally'
- Phil Donahue, 'The Phil Donahue Show'