"This show is a circus, and I'm the ringmaster."
Recently, the Jerry Springer show surpassed Oprah in ratings, stealing the number one spot she's held since 1987. The show remains popular as ever and Jerry's video "Jerry Springer Too Hot for TV" has sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
The Jerry Springer Show is modeled after daytime talk shows like Riki Lake, Geraldo and Jenny Jones. Each episode has a topic and guests are invited to share personal stories with the audience. Many times, topics involve one guest revealing a secret about themselves, of confronting someone they have a problem with. These "confrontations" often escalate into full blown fights, with the guests swearing, screaming and trying to rip each other's throats out.
Many criticize the show, claiming that it caters to the lowest common denominator, encourages guests to fight, and invites guests under false pretenses.
So why the heck is it so popular?
"Well, first of all, I like his honesty...the sole purpose of the show was to entertain. He never said he was trying to help [his guests], he was only giving them a medium for telling their story."
Ed, University of Hawaii student
"I'll watch it to kill time and to see how stupid some people really are and how messed up our society is...It kind of makes me feel better knowing that there are some really screwed up people with some really screwed up lives who are far worse than I am."
Donald, Notre Dame student
"Sometimes I look at the guests and when they throw a punch or whatever, I look at it and I say 'Sheesh! WEAK! He or she totally missed the target!' But the ones that really get to me are the people who have no idea why they are on the show...the ones that you know they're reactions are not fake. I guess another reason is that ...taboo topics are being openly discussed. I may not agree with all the things they talk about, but I like the fact that the people are talking about it rather than pretending that it doesn't exist."
Mahalia, University of Hawaii student
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