TV Host and Former Politician Jerry Springer Dies at 79

OPINION | This article contains opinion. This site is licensed to publish this content.

Jerry Springer, who served as a mayor as well as a news anchor and TV host, has died at 79.

“The Jerry Springer Show” was known as a ratings powerhouse and had a 27-year run. At one point, it was more popular than Oprah Winfrey’s daytime show.

Springer referred to the show as “escapist entertainment” while others criticized it as a display of the decline in American social values.

A family spokesperson said, “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’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

Springer died at home in suburban Chicago after a brief illness.

More from Associated Press:

On his Twitter profile, Springer jokingly declared himself as “Talk show host, ringmaster of civilization’s end.” He also often had told people, tongue in cheek, that his wish for them was “may you never be on my show.”

After more than 4,000 episodes, the show ended in 2018, never straying from its core salaciousness: Some of its last episodes had such titles as “Stripper Sex Turned Me Straight,” “Stop Pimpin’ My Twin Sister,” and “Hooking Up With My Therapist.”

In a “Too Hot For TV” video released as his daily show neared 7 million viewers in the late 1990s, Springer offered a defense against disgust.

“Look, television does not and must not create values, it’s merely a picture of all that’s out there — the good, the bad, the ugly,” Springer said, adding: “Believe this: The politicians and companies that seek to control what each of us may watch are a far greater danger to America and our treasured freedom than any of our guests ever were or could be.”