Perhaps no other name in daytime variety shows brings out more emotion than Jerry Springer. Springer has been a talk show host for several years on the show that bears his name, the Jerry Springer Show. His show is described as a tabloid talk show because of the controversial subjects covered, and because of the people who appear on the show. Springer does not invite celebrities to his show. Instead, he opts to showcase regular Americans from all walks of life. He is a former politician who served one term as mayor of the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1970s.
His show debuted in 1991 as a politically themed talk show, where he invited celebrities such as Oliver North, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The show was designed to mimic another popular daytime talk show, the Phil Donahue show. The show found moderate success, but in 1994, in order to boost ratings, the show transitioned to a more sensational format. In this new format, everyday people were confronted by family members, and friends, about controversial subjects.
The show has been highly-rated for decades now, but has also come under fire from many groups who claim the subjects are not appropriate for daytime television. Springer does not shy away from any subject. Guests are confronted about subjects such as adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, and hate group membership. Often, these confrontations become violent, where guests engaged in physical confrontations. The Springer show has spawned numerous copycat shows over the years, but it still out-rates every other show of its kind.
In May of 2000, controversy hit the show when a female guest on the Springer show was murdered by her ex-husband after viewing the episode. Springer, his producer, and the network were sued by the woman's children. The suit alleged that the controversial nature of the show led to the murder, eventually though, the suit was dropped.