Word of the plan to launch “Judge Jerry” in fall 2019 comes nearly six months after production stopped on “Jerry Springer Show” in June. Springer, the former mayor of Cincinnati, hosted the talk show for 27 years.
The new hourlong strip is expected to be picked up by many of the same stations that carry the talk show, also from NBCUniversal. “Judge Jerry” has been sold to stations covering 75% of U.S. TV households.
” ‘Judge Jerry’ will merge Jerry’s talent for connecting with people, his incredibly relatable and funny personality and his legal training and governing experience to bring viewers a more entertaining court show,” said Tracie Wilson, exec VP of creative affairs for NBCUniversal Television Distribution. “We are so happy to continue our fantastic partnership with Jerry, who is a proven TV icon with a dedicated and broad fan base.”
“Judge Jerry” is described as a traditional court show with Springer presiding over legal disputes. NBCUniversal promises Springer will “render a verdict with a fair yet firm hand and always leave litigants with a dose of classic Springer wisdom.”
The new series is an effort to NBCUniversal to capitalize on Springer’s popularity in a new format that may not be as much of a turn-off to major advertisers. “Jerry Springer Show” at its peak in the late 1990s earned a reputation for raunchy, sexually charged topics and frequent violent outbursts from guests. The show has toned down the volume of hair-pulling and chair-throwing in recent years but the sleazy stigma has persisted.
“For the first time in my life, I am going to be called honorable,” Springer said. “My career is coming full circle and I finally get to put my law degree to use after all these years.”
“Jerry Springer Show” in 1999 briefly de-throned “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as daytime TV’s top-rated talk show. After being elected mayor of Cincinnati at the age of 33, Springer began his TV career in 1991 as a talk show host for Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV. The show was picked up for national distribution the following year. NBCUniversal acquired “Jerry Springer Show,” the “Maury” talker hosted by Maury Povich and other syndie series in 1998 when it bought Multimedia Entertainment.
Springer started out as a topical talker in the Phil Donahue mold, but he turned to racier material to stand out from the pack. The show’s viewership has dropped off significantly in recent years, averaging about 1.7 million viewers in its 2017-18 final season of original production. But reruns of “Jerry Springer Show” are still airing this season in syndication and on the CW’s daytime lineup. With 4,000 episodes in the can, NBCUniversal has enough material to keep the show going even without fresh installments while leveraging Springer’s popularity with a new format.
“Judge Jerry” will be taped before a live audience at NBCUniversal’s Stamford Media Center facility in Stamford, Conn. There’s no word on producers for the show.