Popular US television host Jerry Springer has passed away at the age of 79. The presenter is notable for his long-running (and controversial) ‘90s TV show, which brought everyday Americans onto his stage to discuss their relationship problems and disputes.
His self-titled TV series began way back in 1991 and continued to air for decades to follow. The immense popularity of the Jerry Springer Show helped it beat The Oprah Winfrey Show in the battle of the ratings back in 1998, with roughly 12 million viewers tuning in.
According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Springer died at his home in Chicago, peacefully, on Thursday, April 27. The cause of death has not been confirmed, but it is suggested Springer was battling cancer.
The Jerry Springer Show may have been popular, but it was not without its controversies. As time went on, more and more people critiqued the programme for the perceived exploitation of its guests, many of whom were ridiculed for their public appearances and the problems they shared with the host.
At its best, the Jerry Springer Show was a fascinating study of the vast cultural differences across America. At its worst, the show was seen as a cruel joke at the expense of underprivileged and unassuming citizens. Springer himself even apologised for the effect his show had, in an appearance on the Behind the Velvet Rope podcast.
Anyone who ever watched the Jerry Springer Show (or the Jeremy Kyle Show, if you’re from the UK) will be well aware of the pitfalls that came with such a divisive television format and the impact it had on perceptions of working-class people.
Regardless of methods and results, the news of Springer’s death does mark the passing of an American TV icon and someone who leaves a profound small-screen legacy. He is survived by his wife and daughter.