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Interview with Jerry Springer

Aired April 21, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chants recognized the world over and there's never any doubt who they're referring to. King of talk show television, Jerry Springer, the equal opportunity offender is best known for the controversial "Jerry Springer Show," now in its 19th season. The show made its name with on-air fist fights and verbal brawls.


ANDERSON: And even produced its own musical offspring.


ANDERSON: Prior to his show, the British born swinger dabbled in everything from politics to acting, even serving as the mayor of Cincinnati. And today, he's out with a brand new dating game show.


JERRY SPRINGER, HOST: It's time to reveal your biggest baggage.


ANDERSON: The show forces potential couples to reveal their flaws right before embarking on a first date.

The ultimate jack of all trades, Jerry Springer is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON: And Mr. Springer joined me a short time ago via satellite from New York. Of course, he lives in the States now, as you know. But not many people realize that he was actually born here in Britain.

So I started by asking him his thoughts on the upcoming elections.


SPRINGER: I think the whole world will be watching. And, obviously, major decisions you have to make in Great Britain. And I would have thought, four or five months ago, that Gordon Brown or Labor didn't have a chance and now I'm not so sure.

ANDERSON: Good stuff.

Martin Lewison has written in. And he says: "Any chances of you getting back into either politics or serious media work?" It's his question, not mine. "I heard," he said, "that you tested the winds for a possible campaign. Did anything ever come of that?"

SPRINGER: Well, you know, I used to be the mayor of Cincinnati and then a few years ago, I was giving serious thought to running for the United States Senate from Ohio. And because some people had handed me some polls that showed that I would win. And so I got excited about that and started to think about it.

And in the end, I decided not to do it because I don't think you can run for office just because you can win. You have to really think you're going to make a difference. And the way our system is set up, even if you get elected to the Senate, there's a seniority system. So I would have been number 100 in terms of seniority and the only time that I would have any kind of power would be probably 18 to 20 years away and I'd be 86 by then.


SPRINGER: So it's probably -- I think time has passed me by in terms of that kind of office.

ANDERSON: All right. Jurgen from Suriname has written and he said: "What's the idea behind your new dating game show, "Baggage?""

SPRINGER: Well, it's -- it's a fun dating game. It's -- it's a very funny show, actually. But what the idea is, normally when, you know, young people go out on their first date with someone, the person puts on the best presentation of self that they can and you see only the good side of them. It is later on in the relationship that you -- the baggage starts to be revealed, some flaws they might have, some issues.

Well, on this show, during the course of the half hour show, you get to find out the baggage before you ever commit to the date. And you have choices to make among three people. And you may be really wanting to go out with this one and then she opens another case and oh my gosh, I can't handle that. So it's a lot of fun. And the people that watch the show, you sit at home and you're wondering, wow! could I accept that kind of baggage, or what kind of baggage do I have?

And it probably will wind up being a board game before long.

ANDERSON: Nelly's written to us. She says: "Will this new dating show have people boxing each other?"

SPRINGER: No, I would never be involved in a show that would have that.


SPRINGER: No, this show -- no, this show is a lot different than mine. In fact, this show, which is really strange, the people have teeth, which -- it's -- it's amazing. I had forgotten that women have teeth. But now that I'm doing this show, I can see it.

ANDERSON: Angela has written to us, Jerry. She says: "You've done so many things, ranging from government work to musicals. Do you have one that is your favorite genre?"

SPRINGER: The best job I ever had was being mayor. That was my favorite job. I obviously enjoyed doing my show. I loved last summer when I was on -- I was in the West End playing Billy Flynn in the musical "Chicago." And they were happy with that and so they hired me to do it on Broadway. So I really enjoyed doing that.

I'd have to say after being mayor, that was the most exciting thing, being on Broadway and in the West End.

ANDERSON: And you're 19 years into "The Jerry Springer Show" at this point.

How long does it go on?

SPRINGER: I have let the networks know that I am stopping the show when I'm 103. So that's it. You know, I'm sorry, but 103 is as far as I'm going to go.

ANDERSON: Fred Lumbley writes and he says: "You are my hero, Jerry. When you originally envisioned the idea of your talk show, Jerry Springer, did you really think that it would turn into what it did?"

SPRINGER: No. I had no idea. In fact I had no interest in doing a talk show. I was assigned to it. At the time, I was anchoring the news. I -- in Cincinnati. And we were -- for NBC. And we were very dominant in the ratings. But the company that owned the station where I did the news also owned talk shows. And the big talk show at the time was "The Phil Donohue Show."

Well, Phil was getting close to retirement. So one day they took me to lunch and said we're starting a new talk show, you're going to host it.

So I was assigned to it. I had no idea, no interest. But I'm an employee. And they adjusted the pay, of course. And so there -- that's what happened. So I started doing the show.

ANDERSON: And the rest is history, of course.


ANDERSON: Jerry Springer, your Connector of the Day.

And tomorrow it's the actor Ben Kingsley, the Oscar winner from the films "Ghandi" and "Schindler's List" will be answering your questions. It's your part of the show, of course. Get involved. Head to And remember to tell us where you're writing in from. We love that.