NBC is bringing back America’s Got Talent for the summer. Guess they didn’t find it the first time around. With no shortage of people wanting to show off for the cameras, the show reconvenes with a new host, Jerry Springer, and new judge Sharon Osborn joins David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan on the panel. No stranger to real life oddballs, Springer seemed almost resigned to M.C.ing the festivities.
CraveOnline: Do you expect the contestants on this show to be any weirder than the guests on your talk show?
Jerry Springer: Just in the shows that we’ve taped, I have already seen people that clearly could be on my show. There is a common denominator, and that is these are people who are not famous, standing before America and either saying something or doing something that they enjoy doing, whether or not they’re talented. The judges obviously will determine. But the joy in the show, and I’m not being cynical. I absolutely mean this, God’s truth, you go into that audition room, and I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. But you about go into that audition room, and you see hundreds, a thousand people ready to audition, and every one of them is a happy person. They are in the aisles. They are stretching their vocal cords, they’re juggling. Once they come out they get beaten up, but for a few moments, this is America, and I love it.
CraveOnline: Are they deluded?
Jerry Springer: They don’t think they’re going to win a million dollars, but that isn’t the point. Someone in their life, could have been their mother, best friend, someone who works in a local club, they did something, they said, "You know what? You’re pretty good at that." So this is their moment of joy, period. That’s all they should care about is that they’re doing something they like. And we’re either going to enjoy it or not. But let them have their moment. And I love that. They don’t.
CraveOnline: Would the America’s Got Talent audience be allowed to chant, "Jerry, Jerry!" if they like an act?
Jerry Springer: Well, I guess they’re allowed to but it wouldn’t be appropriate because I’m the host of the show but this isn’t my show, so we’ll keep that to my regular show.
CraveOnline: Why did you want this gig?
Jerry Springer: I was offered. It was offered to me and here I am, 63 and they’re offering me a network show. So it seemed like fun and I love working with regular people. These are regular people. I really enjoyed them so it’s a fun job.
CraveOnline: What were your thoughts on filling in for Regis Philbin?
Jerry Springer: Well, no one fills in for Regis. He’s the best there ever was at this so you pay homage to him and if I tried to be like him it’d be foolish and I’d look foolish and it’d be an insult to him, so I’m not going to do that. I’ll just do it the way I would do it and it will be a different show. Hopefully it will be okay.
CraveOnline: Are you able to interact with contestants differently than your talk show guests?
Jerry Springer: I don’t need to. I like them. I like all the guests. I’m just a regular person too. I’m not part of a Hollywood scene or anything like that so I’m just a regular person from the Midwest. Unlike they are, I don’t have any talent. They have some and so I’m rooting for them. It’s not difficult for me. These are like people that would live on your own block.
CraveOnline: You always defend the little guy on your show. Can you do that here too?
Jerry Springer: Oh absolutely. I protect them against the judges. The judges can be pretty rough on them and I don’t want them to be rough on them because good lord, we invite these people to be on to try something. You can give them a low score, fine, but we don’t need to insult them or be mean to them.
CraveOnline: Do you have a sense that you are the arbiter of the outrageous?
Jerry Springer: Well, obviously when you’re on television every day for years and years and years and years, you’re going to become part of the scenery, part of the culture, the pop culture and I understand that. But I don’t view it personally. It’s because I have a popular show, because people know who I am. So I don’t let it go to my head or anything.
CraveOnline: How does the scheduling of your two shows work?
Jerry Springer: Well, this show we’re doing during the summer and we’re on hiatus now until August so the scheduling is perfect.
CraveOnline: How do you still get people to be on your talk show? Don’t they know what’s going to happen?
Jerry Springer: I’m amazed. We don’t get them to, they call us. We get thousands of calls a week from people who want to be on the show and they know what it’s like. They still want to be on it. They want to get something off their chest, they enjoy the excitement of being on national television, I guess. For the life of me I don’t know why. I mean, I would never go on and I tell them that. But they want to so we put them on.
CraveOnline: Are you ever concerned that you’re preying on people’s vulnerability?
Jerry Springer: No, we would never do that. That’s why it’s purely voluntary. News does that. News preys on people’s vulnerabilities because it writes stories about them against their wishes and usually in a negative light. I insist on our show that the only people that ever get on are people who choose to be on and we only talk about those things they want to talk about. So, that way we protect them and ourselves from exploiting people. It’s purely voluntary, end of story. Sometimes people want something cut out of the show, and it’s taped so we cut it out. We never show anything of what they don’t want on.
CraveOnline: You edit at the guests’ request?
Jerry Springer: Oh sure, absolutely. We’re not out to hurt anybody.
CraveOnline: Are the couple from the I Married a Horse episode still together?
Jerry Springer: No, the horse left. She was upset and said he was hung like a man.
CraveOnline: Now that reality shows are so outrageous, how do you compete?
Jerry Springer: There’s a lot of room on television. Those are great shows but we don’t really compete with them. We’re daytime and they’re prime time.