April 03, 2013 8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Jerry Springer to Host 'Tabloid' Show on Investigation Discovery (Exclusive)
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Jerry Springer is adding a second show to his plate.
Investigation Discovery has tapped Springer to host Tabloid, the cable network's weekly newsmagazine-with-a-twist show, THR has learned exclusively.
"It's a perfect marriage of a host and the substance of over-the-top character who's well-established in business and on daytime television," Investigation Discovery president and GM Henry Schleiff tells THR.
Each of the 10 hourlong episodes of Tabloid will see Springer exploring some of the most bizarre and larger-than-life stories featured in the supermarket checkout line tabloids and the action, twists, turns and motivations behind the eye-grabbing headlines. "We're looking at fundamentally over-the-top stories," Schleiff said, noting a headline like "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar" would be ripe for the Tabloid treatment.
Radley Studios and Espiritus Productions will produce Tabloid for ID, with Brandon Hill and Chad Itskowitz on board to exec produce for the former and Michelle and Bill Katz for the latter. ID's Pamela Deutsch also will exec produce alongside senior vp production Sara Kozak, GM Kevin Bennett and Schleiff. Research on the subject matter is under way for a primetime bow in the first quarter of 2014, with ID potentially using Susan Lucci's Deadly Affairs as a lead-in for Tabloid.
Springer will work on Tabloid in addition to his nationally syndicated The Jerry Springer Show, which is averaging more than 2 million viewers and broadcast in 93 percent of the country in markets including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
"It's a little different from what I normally do with my regular show, yet there is a thread that runs through it and all the shows that I've done -- America's Got Talent, Tabloid and my syndicated show," Springer tells THR of the entry.
Springer -- who has hosted The Jerry Springer Show for 22 seasons, with the talker already renewed through 2016 -- earned 10 local Emmy awards for his nightly commentaries as part of the local newscast on Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWT, where he was the primary news anchor and managing editor.
"We are social beings, and people love stories," Springer says. "When you look at talent shows and the Olympics, the real hooks are often not just the actual event -- singing or skiing -- it's story of people behind it: what they overcome and how they got to where they are. Tabloid will tell some of the most extreme stories you see at checkout counter."
Tabloid, unlike Jerry Springer, will not be filmed in front of a live audience, though Springer jokes that viewers can still chant "Jer-ry" from their couches. The series will go in depth to tell the backstory behind current events and how those involved arrived at the headline-grabbing point.
"That's what I find interesting, and it's what I found interesting as a lawyer, as a news anchor, journalist and talk show host," he says, noting he'll bring the same everyman approach to hosting this as has to everything that preceded it.
"I'm no different on this than any other show -- America's Got Talent, Dancing With the Stars or my crazy show," he says. "I'm a relatively normal person in the midst of craziness. I'm a presenter; I was presenting the news, singers, people involved in crazy situations. That's what I do. I don't have any particular talent at all; I'm not trying to be modest here, it's the truth. I think I'm a relatively nice guy and reasonably bright, but I'm not talented, and what works with the shows that I do is you're hearing about things that are either crazy or interesting from someone who could live next door to you and that makes it relevant to you watching it."
For his part, Springer credits his longevity to his unassuming nature.
"I'm nonthreatening; I'm just a regular guy," he said. "No one would have picked me out of a college or high school yearbook and said, 'This guy is going to make it in show business.' Guys who watch my talk show don't feel threatened; I'm like their uncle or teacher they liked. There's nothing Hollywood about me, I'm as un-Hollywood as you can get, and maybe that's why it works."
Springer is repped by WME and Felker Toczek.