Throughout an illustrious career, Jerry Springer has become a cultural and civic icon. Springer’s notoriety is due in large part to hosting his eponymous show for over 27 seasons. In addition, to Springer’s work in entertainment, throughout his life he has also been lawyer, the mayor of Cincinnati, award-winning newscaster, author, Broadway actor, executive producer, ballroom dancer, Podcast host and much more.
He earned a degree in political science at Tulane University, and he then went on to receive his law degree from Northwestern University. In 1968 he signed on with the Kennedy campaign, but shortly thereafter felt the horror of Kennedy’s assassination along with the rest of the world. This moment in history served as a catalyst for Springer, compelling him into political action.
Springer spearheaded the movement in Ohio to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. It all culminated with his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The result was the ratification of the 26th Amendment. He ran for Congress in Ohio in 1970, and then he turned to local government in 1971 winning a seat on the Cincinnati City Council. He served five terms before becoming Mayor of Cincinnati at the age of 33.
In 1982, Springer signed with the Cincinnati NBC affiliate, WLWT as their anchor and managing editor. Springer took struggling WLWT from worst to first. His nightly commentaries, the precursor to his now legendary “Final Thought,” and news coverage landed him eight regional Emmys® for The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Columbus/Dayton/Cincinnati Chapter (what is now the Ohio Valley Chapter). In 1991, he was offered his own talk show in Cincinnati which gained popularity rather quickly. After 2 years, Springer would say farewell to news reporting and commit to hosting full-time as “The Jerry Springer Show” was sold into national syndication.
In 1998, Jerry Springer and his show reached a level of success; Springer went from being a household name in Cincinnati to be a household name in America. His talk show surpassed The Oprah Winfrey Show as it obtained the highest household rating for 65 consecutive weeks (2/16/98 – 5/17/99). By the end of the year, Springer was featured in the Halloween episode of The Simpsons; Madame Tussauds created a wax statue of Springer; Barbara Walters selected him as one of the year’s 10 Most Fascinating People; he filmed an appearance in Mike Myers’ film Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Springer was also featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, Esquire and New York Magazine.
Coming fall of 2019, the iconic Springer will slide from the stage to behind the bench using law and order to settle disputes on his new show, “Judge Jerry.” The half-hour, syndicated, small-claims court show will take on actual cases from real people. In each episode, Judge Springer will hear cases and render a verdict with a fair yet firm hand and always leave litigants with a dose of classic Springer wisdom.
Kerry ShannonExecutive Producerview bio →