Now that Donald Trump has made the stunning transition from reality TV star to President, some Ohio Democrats are hoping that Jerry Springer can use his celebrity to become Ohio’s next governor.
What would you do if Jerry Springer ran for Governor of Ohio on the Democratic ticket in 2018?
— ProgressOhio (@ProgressOhio) September 3, 2017
Can Ohio progressives who are repulsed by Donald Trump ever embrace a man whose career in entertainment television helped pave the way to Trump’s presidency? What about the other contenders, the declared Democratic candidates, and anticipated: Connie Pillich, Joe Schiavoni, Betty Sutton, Nan Whaley, and possibly Richard Cordray?
Or, is it Springer time?
Springer is charismatic, a former Cincinnati mayor, well known and right on the issues – attributes his supporters insist could help him overcome hefty baggage that includes everything from his Florida residency to The Jerry Springer Show.
While Trump and Springer are both reality TV stars, Trump’s show – The Apprentice – was ‘highbrow’ television that tested the business acumen of contestants.
Springer’s show is lowbrow, and usually opens with a warning that its content “may not be suitable for children.’’
The show modified the disclaimer for a 1998 episode entitled “I Married a Horse” that featured a British man who — married a horse. Cameras crossed the pond to film the man and his “wife,” and the segment opened with this warning: “Sexual content with animals is illegal in this country and most of the Western world. This is the first film to examine a subject which many find deeply disturbing.”
Long before Team Trump tried to soften the image of hate groups by calling them the “alt right,’’ Springer gave them air time. Lots of it.
KKK members were frequent guests – but the Springer show always insisted that tolerance always won the day. Ratings, however, mattered, too. Producers boast that one Klansman show is “one of the most popular episodes ever’’ and invited viewers to “watch as Jerry Springer confronts a KKK member and puts him in his place.’’
Springer’s show inspired criticism from Christians who complained about its violence, profanity and nudity. Some women found it sexist. Civil rights icons questioned the constant presence of the Klan.
If you didn’t watch the show, YouTube can fill you in. With topics such as Naughty and Naked, Greatest Fight in the History of Jerry Springer and Cheating Confession Turns Violent, you can get a quick look at how Springer spent a sizeable slice of his time on Earth, and how he earned his statewide name recognition.
In a string of speeches and interviews, Springer has called his show “the stupidest show in the world,’’ but he refuses to concede that it’s exploitative, or that it caters to America’s dark side. TV that exploits and degrades, he once told New York Magazine, includes 60 Minutes and CNN’s Crossfire.
“I’m guilty because I did it for ten years,’’ Springer said, referring to his days as an Emmy Award winning TV anchor in Cincinnati. “God is gonna be a lot more tolerant of what I’m doing now than of when I was a news anchor.’’ The Jerry Springer Show is now in its 26th year.