Jerry Springer has apologised for his eponymous US talk show that ran for almost 5,000 episodes between 1991 and 2018.
The show – akin to the UK’s The Jeremy Kyle Show – was famous for its on-stage fights, profanity, nudity and themes like incest and adultery. Episode titles included “I Married a Horse” and “I’m Happy I Cut Off My Legs”.
Speaking recently on David Yontef's Behind the Velvet Rope podcast, the 78-year-old expressed his regret for the series.
“I just apologise,” he said. “I’m so sorry. What have I done? I’ve ruined the culture.
“I just hope hell isn’t that hot because I burn real easy. I’m very light-complected, and that kind of worries me,” he joked.
Before talk show stardom, Springer was a politician, elected as the mayor of Cincinnati in 1977.
“After being mayor, I was offered the job to anchor the news for the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, and I did that for 10 years,” he said on the podcast.
He added that it “was kind of a rational transition” to “go from politics to reporting to news to anchoring”.
Jerry Springer faced various criticisms over its 27-year run, notably for excessive violence and for exploiting vulnerable people for entertainment.
In 2002, a woman on the show was murdered hours after the episode she featured on aired, which revealed she was sleeping with her violent ex-husband unbeknownst to his new wife. The couple were found guilty of her murder.
Springer said in an October 2000 interview with Reuters: “I would never watch my show. I'm not interested in it. It's not aimed towards me. This is just a silly show.”