Jerry Springer, whose controversial talk show dominated daytime television for 27 years, died at 79 from pancreatic cancer. He was a pioneer of trash TV and one of its most recognizable faces. At its height, his show beat Oprah Winfrey in the ratings, but it also brought domestic dysfunction and violent confrontations into living rooms across America.
Some critics branded it as low-brow entertainment that contributed to a dumbing down of television and declining social values. Others were awed by his ability to get people to open up about their personal dramas in front of a national audience. He often referred to himself as "the ringmaster of civilisation's end."
The first season of the Jerry Springer Show began with a political slant, but the mild mannered host quickly realised that it wasn't going to be enough to draw in viewers. That's when he changed tack and shifted the focus to more salacious stories.
As the episodes progressed, more and more guests would reveal their indiscretions with each other - leading to fist fights between some of them and members of the audience. You can still watch clips from the show on YouTube, if you're so inclined, but the show's reputation for being low-brow did damage to the reputation of talk shows in general.
Springer made cameo appearances in a number of popular movies and TV shows, including the Austin Powers films. He also guest starred in an episode of the TGIF series Sabrina, The Teenage Witch where he played a talk show host who is administered by the witches' council to settle magical-related feuds.