Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Jerry Springer Left Daytime TV After Realizing He Was His Own Competition

Jerry Springer was a TV icon for decades, best known for his self-titled talk show that kicked off in 1991. Springer himself would admit the show changed pop culture for better and worse, ushering in other shows of its ilk that could affectionately be referred to as "trash TV." The show was synonymous with the 1990s, but some may be surprised to learn it aired new episodes all the way until 2018. Finding out "Jerry Springer" was still airing during the Trump administration is like finding out there were still wooly mammoths walking around when the pyramids were being built.

But even when the show ended, Springer didn't leave television. He had another show lined up called "Judge Jerry," where he took on legal cases and ran for three seasons. In March 2022, the TV personality spoke about how his other series just didn't hit the same way as "Jerry Springer," and COVID-19 and its social distancing policies didn't help matters. He told The New York Post, "I was talking to parties that were thousands of miles away — wherever the suits were filed was where we put the cameras — and you've got that delay, no audience and [me] sitting in front of a green screen. It wasn't what I first imagined."

But there was another issue Springer found himself up against trying to make "Judge Jerry" work.

There was just too much Jerry Springer for syndication

With so many episodes of "Jerry Springer" produced over the decades, it isn't hard to still catch an episode if you have cable. Reruns still air on syndication, which likely netted Springer a nice paycheck of residuals every so often but also hampered his efforts to expand into other series. COVID played a role in the demise of "Judge Jerry," but he was also his own worst enemy, as he went on to tell The New York Post, "In most markets they still run 'The Jerry Springer Show,' that's been holding on, and there's only so much of me that a normal human being can take. It was a containment issue; if I was going to be so crazy on that show, how can I suddenly be serious on the bench?"

There's only so much Jerry Springer one can take, and when it came time to end "Judge Jerry," Springer fully understood why it had to happen. He carried on, "I enjoyed doing ['Judge Jerry'], no question, but the industry isn't based on, 'Gee, are you having fun doing it?' It wasn't making the money it was making in the beginning. I totally get it." The success of one show doesn't necessarily translate to another, so in 2022, the show was canceled after three seasons.

Daytime TV wasn't even Jerry Springer's favorite part of his career

When The New York Post interview was conducted in 2022, Jerry Springer was obviously looking back on his life and figuring out what it all meant. You could spend a long time debating the merits of his show and what it did for the culture at large, but for Springer, his hit series wasn't even his biggest accomplishment. He elaborated, "The greatest job I ever had was being mayor of Cincinnati, and if God came to me and said, 'You can do one thing and you can do it for your lifetime,' I would have chosen that."

Legacy is a complex question, especially when it comes to public figures. Even Springer admitted that most people aren't remembered a couple of decades after they pass away, but that really wasn't what he was angling for. He just wanted to be there for his family: "The important thing is to be remembered by your kids and your grandkids. If they love me and remember me and I've been a good role model for them, that's all that matters."

Even though "Judge Jerry" ended sooner than Springer probably would've liked, his legacy in the realm of television is secure. Jerry Springer died in April 2023, but as he put it himself, his legacy will remain: "As long as the crazy show keeps going, I'll be a part of the fabric of the memories of our culture."