These are exciting times for Jerry Springer.
His brawl- and bleep-filled syndicated show — the one denounced by hordes of critics — celebrated its 20th anniversary last month. He hosts "Baggage," a dating program on the Game Show Network. And and this week, Springer, 66, hits the road to begin a gig as ringleader for the "America's Got Talent" live tour, which starts in Oakland, Calif.
The 25-city tour features standout performers from Season 5 of the zany NBC reality series. Set to take the stage are, among others, the season's champion, pop singer Michael Grimm, the black-light illusion performance troupe Fighting Gravity, 12-year-old ballroom dancing partners Anna and Patryk, and utra-glam baroque opera singer Prince Poppycock.
A: Absolutely not. My first contract was for six weeks, and I had no expectations beyond that.... What's really weird is that we're now getting the children of our original guests, which is just wrong because they were told not to procreate.
A: Well, you can't even put Oprah in the same sentence as me. She's the best who ever was. She does a real talk show. We do a circus.
A: I think you see similar extremes of personalities on both shows. There just tends to be more anger and dysfunction on ("Springer"). I will say, though, that the guests on ("Springer") sometimes have a greater grasp on reality.
A: I'm drawn to people, period. The truth is, I've never met a human being who didn't have a little strangeness to them. It's just a matter of who displays their strangeness and who hides it. I can open any newspaper any day and find 20 people who could be on our ("Springer") show.
A: No, I'm pretty much of a chicken. Besides, I wear rented suits. I can't get them wrinkled.
A: That's right. If I was in college, I would. But it's not aimed at 66-year-olds. It's just a bunch of ludicrous fun — and a great way to make a living.