Alejandro A. Alvarez/Philadelphia Daily News
"Je-rry! Je-rry! Je-rry!"
Jerry Springer was greeted with that cheer, heard daily on his self-described "circus" of a talk show, as he strolled into XIX at the Bellevue yesterday. We chatted with Springer as he enjoyed a cheeseburger and fries hours before he lectured at West Chester University about the effects of TV on pop culture.
Springer says he's "a regular schlub who got lucky" and "wouldn't watch" his own show.
"I get it. I get why it's entertaining. But I'm 64 years old. If I were in college, I would probably like it," he says.
A former mayor of Cincinnati, Springer is about to host another season of NBC's "America's Got Talent," but says he's not a big television fan.
Mostly, he says, he watches sports and cable news, professing his addiction to the MSNBC shows of Nicetown native Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.
Springer says the only rule on his show is that the topic has to be outrageous. "We can't do an uplifting story," he says. "If somebody calls with a sweet story about grandparents raising their grandkids, we have to refer them to another show." Springer says his show, with "no redeeming social value," is not where to go "if you have a problem and need help . . . People come on our show to get attention they don't have in their regular lives."
We asked Springer, who spent the night at the Bellevue's Park Hyatt hotel, if any topics in the show's 17-year history stuck in his mind as shocking.
"You can't be a grown-up in today's world and be shocked by anything anymore," he says. "In my lifetime we've had a Holocaust, a presidential assassination, 9/11, outrageous violence on a daily basis."
Springer, who is a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter and contributor, hasn't ruled out running for office again someday. He'd do it in Ohio. "That's where my base is."