Talk Show Host Jerry Springer Has Died at 79

Jerry Springer, the controversial host of the popular daytime talk show The Jerry Springer Show, has died, his family confirmed in a press statement. He was 79 years old.

After first getting his start in politics as the mayor of Cincinatti, OH, Springer transitioned to television news. Although his daytime talk show was intended to be a serious journalistic endeavor, it quickly devolved into a showcase of the dysfunctional, unsavory elements of American life. Complete with fights, blurred nudity, and bleeped profanity, the show was a ratings juggernaut, even eclipsing The Oprah Winfrey Show in ratings during its prime.

Although popular, Springer's show was also highly controversial, with its dramatized paternity tests, family feuds, and stories of adultery drawing criticism for "dumbing down" American culture. Still, the show's enduring cultural popularity proved that Springer had tapped into something fundamentally appealing to viewers, and many subsequent programs would try to replicate its winning formula.

“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,” said Jene Galvin, a spokesperson for Springer's family “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

The Jerry Springer Show ran from 1991 to 2018. According to his family's statement, he died at home in suburban Chicago after a brief illness.