Jerry Springer has said that participants were extensively briefed on potential surprises before appearing on his tabloid talk show as he defended the show’s duty of care practices.
Springer, who is being sued by the family of a man who took his own life after appearing on The Jerry Springer Show, denied that his appearance had in any way contributed to his death.
During a Q&A following his Alternative MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Springer said: “When you come on our show, if there is going to be a surprise – a lot of shows don’t have surprises – but if there is going to be a surprise, you are given a list of 21 possible surprises ahead of time.
“You have to okay all 21 possibilities before you are allowed on the show. You don’t know which of the 21 it is going to be but you know it is going to be one of them.
“If one of them is something you can’t accept you don’t even get on the show. We don’t run into that particular issue.”
The family of Jerry Springer Show participant Blake Alvey filed a lawsuit against the TV host and broadcaster NBC earlier this year following Alvey’s death in June 2018, weeks after appearing on the programme.
In 2002, a former guest on Springer’s show murdered his wife after the couple featured in an episode called Secret Mistresses Confronted.
Springer said: “In both those cases, let’s be clear, it was several weeks or months later. The situation in that life hadn’t changed.
“It would be the same thing as saying a horrible thing happened after they shopped at Walmart. Two months ago they were at Walmart and you’re suing Walmart because they got into an argument at Walmart. The reason the court threw out the first case… the second case, I guess, is still going on, the network is handling that.”
Springer said that, across the 27 years his programme was on the air, 50,000 people took part, adding: “In any population of 50,000 people you are going to have some people who are mean, some people that are crazy, some people that are racist, some people that beat their spouse.”
“You can have all kinds of people.”
The Jerry Springer Show ran from 1991 until it was axed in 2018.
The series inspired the UK’s The Jeremy Kyle Show, which was cancelled earlier this year following the death of a participant.
Springer followed in the footsteps of the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Ant and Dec and Charlie Brooker in delivering the annual Alternative MacTaggart speech at the TV event, in which he criticised the Trump administration’s immigration policy, calling “an assault on the idea of America”.