By Veronica Dudo
While you may know Jerry Springer as the host of the tabloid talk show, “The Jerry Springer Show,” he is showing a different side in Atlantic City by hosting “The Price Is Right Live Show.” Springer is booked for a six-week engagement at Harrah’s Resort, where audience members will have the chance to ‘come on down’ and bid on prizes–just like on the hit television show, “The Price Is Right.” The 68-year-old is also hosting a new dating TV show, “Baggage.”
While in Atlantic City, Springer talked about what it’s been like traveling with “The Price Is Right Live Show,” explained why “The Jerry Springer Show” is so successful and talked about his time working on Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign.
You’re hosting “The Price Is Right Live Tour” here in Atlantic City. How is it going?
Great! It’s a lot of fun to do. I started doing it in the spring, and we did six or seven weeks at Bally’s in Las Vegas and then we did three weeks in Vancouver, and I’m going to do six weeks here in Atlantic City at Harrah’s. It’s so much fun! I’m kind of lucky in life now; I don’t really need to make a living, but I enjoy doing live shows. This is just an excuse to do comedy, because you meet people, they come running up on stage, they’re all excited and the entertainment comes from talking with the people up there. It’s almost like the game is secondary, even though they’re very excited to win prizes.
“The Jerry Springer Show” has been on the air for 21 years. Why do you think it has endured for so long?
I would like to apologize–there’s no excuse for it, and I’ve ruined the culture. [Laughs] It’s got a niche, and there’s no other show like it; therefore, it’s always going to have a base. And it’s aimed at young people. You always get a new crop of young people–kids suddenly old enough to watch when Mom isn’t home, the giggle factor. It’s like a fraternity party show. It’s aimed at high school and college kids, and other people obviously watch it, but that’s the core audience. And I think as long as you have a show that’s aimed at young people, you can go on forever, because there’s always new young people. It’s so stupid, it’s so crazy–it’s an escape from your real life, and I think maybe people enjoy that.
The presidential election is coming up, and you actually worked on the political campaign for Robert F. Kennedy. What was that experience like?
It was my first job. It was phenomenal. To this day, he was the most exceptional person I’ve ever known–and in politics. Back then it was the Civil Rights Movement, it was the Anti-War Movement, Vietnam. It was a different age, and back then, everyone was totally involved because you had the draft. It wasn’t just whether politics was a hobby of young people or an interest, it was your life! Everyone knew that as soon as you graduated high school, you were going overseas, and either the person to the left of you or the person to the right of you was either going to be killed or wounded. So it was very frightening, and that created an intensity. The 60s are so intense in history because it was one of the few times where, literally, everybody was involved without any choice. And I don’t know if we’ve ever had that intensity since.
“Baggage” is the new dating game show you’re hosting. How does it work?
This week it started in syndication nationally. It’s your traditional dating show, except during the course of the show, they have to reveal three items of their personal baggage like, ‘I have lunch with my ex once a month.’ Things that would make you think twice about going out with that person. Normally, we don’t discover the baggage of our partner until four or six months into the relationship–maybe five years into the relationship–but on this show you know going in.
Do you ever get the chance to visit Philadelphia?
Yes, sure–quite a bit. Many times I’ve been to Philly, but I don’t think you want to talk about the ’09 World Series! But I’m so old I remember when the Yankees and Phillies played in 1950, and the Yankees won–of course the Yankees won!
Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist covering everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. Follow her on Twitter @VeronicaDudo and Facebook