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More substance to Jerry Springer than TV persona 0

JOE LEARY, 24 HOURS
Jerry Springer, seen here at this year's Miss USA Official Welcome Event in Las Vegas, was recently in Vancouver to host The Price is Right Live at the River Rock Casino. (WENN.COM)

Jerry Springer, seen here at this year's Miss USA Official Welcome Event in Las Vegas, was recently in Vancouver to host The Price is Right Live at the River Rock Casino. (WENN.COM)

Soaring to celebrity status with his outrageous self-titled talk show, Jerry Springer was recently in town to host The Price is Right Live at the River Rock and Boulevard Casino as part of the show's 40th anniversary. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the 68-year-old TV host.

24: I remember seeing you in Vancouver some years back when you got up onstage at The Roxy and jammed with the band.

JS: I remember that. It was about 10 years ago and I'll tell you why I was in Vancouver. They used to tape the X-Files there and I was the guest on an episode one week.

24: At the outset of The Jerry Springer Show, did you foresee it would become as popular as it did?

JS: When I was hired to do the show, I was anchoring the 5:30, 6 and 11 o'clock news every night for the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. I had been doing it for about 10 years and we were pretty dominant in the ratings. The company (Multimedia) that owned the station also owned talk shows like Phil Donahue and Sally Jessy Raphael. One day the CEO took me to lunch and said that Phil was getting close to retirement and they were planning to start a new talk show and wanted me to host it. I was assigned to it and really had no interest. I was enjoying doing the news and they said I could do both. So I would get up in the morning and fly to Chicago to tape the show and then fly back to Cincinnati to do the news every night. I did that for about two years and that got exhausting so I figured since I had done the news, I'd put my energies into the talk show and then it took off.

24: Did the show ever get beyond your realm of control?

JS: It's certainly beyond my control because I don't own the show, and I'm not even allowed to know what the subject matter is. When I go out onstage they hand me a card and all the card has on it are the names of the guests because I haven't met them. My job then is to ask questions that you would ask sitting at home and then make some jokes.

24: When are you most happy?

JS: The greatest job I ever had was being mayor of Cincinnati, so my passion is political. That's what I take seriously. Show business is how I make my living, that's my occupation, but it's not my religion and I always keep it separate. I go to work like everybody else, but my job happens to be an entertainer. On my own time it's not what I think about. If I'm not with my family, I spend most of my time doing political stuff.

24: Do you think there's going to be a shift in the U.S. political landscape in November?

JS: First of all, I should tell you I'm biased and I certainly hope not. I love Obama so I hope not, but it's possible. The country is divided, clearly, and there are two directions the country can choose to go. In a sense, though every candidate doesn't like to say it, it really is a class conflict.


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