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Are Reality Shows Like "The Jerry Springer Show" Real or Fake?

I am a child model who has experience being on television and music videos.

Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer

Is Jerry Springer Real?

Let me start this article by explaining that I am no stranger to being on television. I was a child model for a toy company and then appeared on television for the next 20 years in various shows, music videos, online videos, newspapers, and more.

So let's get into my personal experience with reality TV.

I was first contacted by a popular reality television show in late 2011 or very early 2012. What had happened was that I had listed a large-bust mannequin for sale on Craigslist. This mannequin was purchased for my retail store, but her skin tone wasn't fit for my lighting, and the position of her arms didn't work for my needs. So the decision was made to sell her.

After the posting was made, I was contacted by a popular show which involves the pawning of items. At first, I was very excited. I thought this would be a great opportunity for myself and my store to get publicity, and the woman I spoke to made me believe that this was an excellent opportunity. We continued to negotiate over several phone calls, but as the calls continued, I became more skeptical. It brought to mind some aspects of how The Jerry Springer Show operates.

Is The Jerry Springer Show Staged?

The whole encounter sounded similar to what I've heard about the authenticity of The Jerry Springer Show. The show initially started out as being more serious as it focused on political discussions and issues that were more mundane such as family reunions. It eventually shifted to more provocative topics, such as men finding out their girlfriends were men or women complaining about the infidelity of their spouses. The show saw a spike in ratings with its trademark fights and audiences chanting "Jer-ry!, Jer-ry!"

So is the show real or fake? It is actually a little bit of both. People are able to call the show to inquire if they can be guests. They need to have some type of story they can sell. The raunchier it is, the more likely the show will book you. The show looks for stories involving multiple people so there can be potential for fistfights.

Producers have claimed that they screen people to ensure guests are legitimate. However, some former guests have revealed that this is not the case, as they fabricated their stories to get on the show. They report that the show producers basically had a sort of don't ask, don't tell-like policy when it came to the stories they received.

Some guests have reported that producers try to make their stories more exaggerated for the camera. So a story on the show may be authentic, but it can be blown up to be more dramatic. Other guests have admitted that they were actors, and the show created their narratives and relationships.

Are Jerry Springer Fights Real or Fake?

The fights on the show are a little less than genuine. If a conflict on the show is real, then there may be real hostility between guests. However, guests have reported that the fights are basically staged.

Producers will encourage guests to fight and will actually coach them on when to do it. The guests are informed about how the show wants them to behave. A careful eye can spot that these scuffles can look choreographed as they seem to occur on cue, notably when Jerry is out of the way.

Guests have reported that they sign a waiver before going on the show, so they pretty much know what they'll be getting into beforehand. This also explains why no one on the show ever faces assault charges.

Do You Get Paid Being on The Jerry Springer Show?

Guests aren't exactly paid for their appearance on the show, but there are some perks. The show will pay for their travel and hotel. Guests also receive a small stipend during their stay. The main appeal of being on the show is getting your 15 minutes of fame.

My Phone Calls With Reality TV Producers/Coordinators

I was already hearing the Jerry chants as I spoke to these producers. The first few calls went great. I was under the genuine assumption that I was going to appear on television wearing my merchandise (tees and yoga pants) and selling my mannequin. As negotiations continued, things became even more sketchy.

  1. Since the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness event was taking place the following month in Detroit, MI (the same place as the filming of this show), I clearly stated to the coordinator/producer that I would like to do something that has never been done on a pawn show. I wanted both parties agreeing to donate 100% to Susan G. Komen. Whatever their bid was for the large-breasted mannequin, my store would personally match it. It seemed very fitting being that the show would be based on the mannequin's amazingly large bust and Susan G. Koeman is a huge advocate for fundraising for breast cancer. I was willing to give away the mannequin (approximately $300 in value plus shipping) in exchange for both the pawn show and my company helping bring awareness to an exceptional cause. Of course, I also wanted to wear my logo on TV. My idea was promptly declined. I was quite confused as to why any business wouldn't want to support such a great cause.
  2. After my offer was declined, things got even more strange. I was very clear that I did not need to pawn this mannequin. I did not want to come across as broke nor look like an idiot. I explained that my business is literally named after me and that my reputation in the community means everything to me. At that time, I was informed that I was not allowed to wear any clothing with my logo. If I even mentioned my store's name or location, then the show producers may (will) edit it out.
  3. I was then told I had to sign waivers in regard to my appearance, which basically stated that the show had the right to make me appear however they choose in a way that would be best for ratings.
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I saw some similarities with my experience to The Jerry Springer Show. I realized that the pawn show wanted me to have similar complaints to guests often seen on Jerry's show.

I had statements from coordinators/show producers telling me:

  • Can you be dramatic?
  • We can't control what happens.
  • We can't guarantee anything.
  • We will be editing the footage so it fits into prime-time television.

I had no interest in my name being tarnished, my words being altered, or being made to look like a perv. The last thing I needed was for a nationally televised show to make me look like some kind of weirdo.

The End of My Reality TV Experience

I politely declined the offer to be made to look like a total moron for ratings. Ironically, a very good business associate of mine had also listed some of his items on Craigslist (which consisted of very rare pieces of history, per say). By accident, through conversation, I discovered that he too was also contacted by the same show and had the exact same conversations (minus the desire to donate to charity).

Both of us agreed that there was absolutely no benefit for either of us to appear on the show without any guarantee of . . . anything. In addition, neither of us were interested in participating in drama, physical or verbal fighting, or being portrayed in a bad light to get the show ratings. We have both worked very hard to be assets to our communities and build our businesses. Please keep in mind that we never contacted this show looking for help of any kind.

Should you consider being on reality shows like Jerry Springer? I guess it all comes down to how much is your reputation is worth. If you feel that being portrayed as potentially anything like a racist, a fool, or a psycho, then you may want to consider taking your shot at your 15 seconds of fame. Just keep in mind that whatever you do publicly will be with you forever.


Aaron on April 29, 2020:

Interesting. I always thought the bell was used as a reflex thing. It was a show. Not everything that happened on it is uncontrollable. To those comments questioning why someone would go on live television to air their dirty laundry, it’s simple. Either they’re proud or they’re trying to seek help which is why Jerry and others do try to help them and Jerry even provided his thoughts at the end of every episode.

Bobby cobill on January 07, 2020:

Hi my name is bobby cobill jerry springer is the best show ever and i love his shows

Donna Sampson on November 19, 2019:

Jerry Springer and his guest are JOKES. Why cant y'all see this? Paid or not, noone really aired their dirty life on national media for the world to see and know unless their tryn to seek professional help to change

Josh riggins on May 27, 2019:

How can I come to the show our be on the show I like to have some fun

George Marshall on November 13, 2018:

Why would someone want to be on the Jerry Springer Show?' All the show wants to hear is your family dirty laundry.

George M.

Mr. Not. Fan of your writing on July 14, 2018:

First off, why are you making this article all about yourself? Secondly, download grammarly or pick up a book and start reading. Goodness gracious this article was written so bad.

Matt on May 10, 2018:

False, there is nothing you can sign, that would allow your constitutional rights to be "signed away"

assault is assault

Mecha on April 12, 2018:

Hate to add fuel to the fire... but I'd like to add more "constructive critism". The story immediately confused me, why was this titled as if it was a piece on Jerry Springer but than it immediately cut to the headline underneath about reality tv and your life with R.T.v.

Why have the first 2 paragraphs be about yourself?

Speaking of the headlines confusion, its was rather frustrating to have the story chopped up with unnecessary exposition. It makes the writing feel like a high schoolers English notes for creative writing class. I know you think it made the story seem less intimidating and lengthy; it had the opposite effect.

Of course the the headlines were not as rough as the main subject which turned out to be "I-was-almost-but-not-really-in-reality-tv" rather than facts or at the very least rumors about what the show is like behind the scenes.

I mean I'm not expecting you to hunt down former contestants for the amount of pay you got for this story. Can we at least include more than just 3 out of the 10 paragraphs (rough estimate) about the main topic? What is written on Jerry Springer comes off as a hollow paragraph about senate hearings that trails off at the end and akwardly segways into the next portion. This is where your story dissolves into just straight filler text about waivers and acquaintances. Everything after reads as dry as a the girls at burning man. I physically felt like the sad romance "meme" song had started playing.The rest of the article felt glued together with a couple google searches and over an exaggeration of a personal story.

Just a couple hints, spell check is your best friend, if you can Google the info on J.S. and the senate than you can Google grammar and spelling information as well.

Lastly Re-read your finished piece over at least 3 times especially if you are as worried about your appearances as you seemed to be from your story.

After I wrote all this I saw your piece was from a while ago, but I wrote it already so I'm still posting it.

Trae on March 25, 2018:

This is really badly written and it never did address head-on the topic about the Jerry Springer show .. it doesn't say conclusively what show contacted you either. No-one cares about your has-been freaking life, we came to find out once and for all is Jerry's show run on scripts or totally random fight scenes with Jerry basically there to announce people coming on stage in the beginning and then at the end ask if those matches made in hell are going to try to be made in heaven because 1 of them is still in love or feels cornered with nowhere else to go and the other is willing to take advantage of them.

Steve on February 13, 2018:

I can't get past how poorly written this article is. Someone needs to go back and take some grammar classes, wow!

Sam on December 15, 2017:

Stop comparing your self-righteous sob story to a show that you've obviously never been on purely for views!

Rick on November 29, 2017:

Look, she told you about her past to let you know she has had experience on this subject. Another thing she was well within her rights to ask the show to match a donation. Susan B Komen is her charity of choice. Let me ask you, do you give to every charity out there? No you don't so why should she? I liked the article. If you don't that's fine. Just don't tear her apart over it.

Mia18 on September 21, 2017:

No offense didn't really like your article. You sound so entitled with your I was on tv and blah blah blah, never heard of you. When I read this article I didn't care about your personal experience, sorry. Just wanted to read about jerry springer, not how you couldn't sell your self and your brand on tv. You ever watch a show where they tape over soda cans so they aren't shown it's just something they do. It sounded like you just wanted to extend your 15 seconds of fame and exploit your store a bit. If you wanted to youbstill could have donated your friggin mannequin to breast cancer or whatever.

You didn't say anything we didn't already know. Reality tv, and jerry sprinter for example, has probably staged some this or start from a story base from real people and ask them to do things and probably "suggest" how to act in front of cameras, and of course since this show has fights the guests would sign waivers but the people on this show aren't the smartest. America loves a train wreck they can't look away from just look at the disgusting kardashians, jersey shore, real old plastic housewives. I will not lie I enjoyed these shows as a teen but as I grew up I found all of them, especially the kardashians, to be so friggin stupid and whiney. I don't care if Kim is so upset she can't get a private plane and that's her biggest problem and she's doing the ugly cry face. While I'm sure reality stars life aren't perfect I don't feel bad for them. Kardashian is famous for a sex tape her mother brokered the release from, discussing. These people don't know what real problems are.

Someone smarter than you on September 04, 2017:

You might want to investigate the meaning of the words "per se" or as you put it "per say." This reads like it was written in crayon by a sixth grader, I'd like my two minutes back...

Cil on July 24, 2017:

Lol this chick is ridiculous we all know just by watching The Jerry Springer Show the movie that they ask you to be more dramatic and everything she said so she's not telling us anything new and I'm sorry how old are you because I'm 42 and when I was in high school Jerry Springer was still a shitshow

Antonio Cruz on May 05, 2017:


Stacey on February 28, 2017:

"It has went"? What kind of English is that?

Fartfacemcgee on February 13, 2017:

If you don't know what "per se" means, don't use it. You look like an idiot.

J on January 23, 2017:

Are you serious? You think that a show or entity or company or person or ANYTHING/ANYONE should be obligated to donate something to your charity because it is "good" and not doing so is "wrong"? Obviously it would be great to donate to a charity or cause...but requiring someone to donate when you say to donate? This is why our country is sooooo f'd up. You are an entitled child and have no idea what is actually going on in the world. Again I say it would be great if they had decided to go along with your idea but you are one entitled person to think that it is admonishable not to do so. Can you imagine what would happen if the show accepted all such offers? Yes, it doesn't happen all the time right now....granted...but accept one offer to donate everything to this charity, then, you not being allowed to say no.....eventually you have to say yes to everyone. You think it's not ok to turn down breast cancer but would it be okay to turn down colon cancer? Brain cancer? Stomache cancer? Blood cancer? ALS? Aids? Underprivileged children? Lou gherrigs disease? Lung cancer? Battered women? Leukemia? I mean can you imagine how long this list can go on for without actually finding a charity you COULD turn down under your definition of "can't believe they turned down my charity" logic? What a croc of garbage this country and its political correctness is becoming.

Duff on January 12, 2017:

Susan B Komen Foundation is a joke! There are so many more foundations that actually use the money properly. If you donate to them, all you're doing is throwing your money away.

My Logic Destroys You on December 01, 2016:

Of course its real lmfao. Remember the KKK members on the show? and still people say its fake lmao. News flash, you're fake! Mad? lmao!

Bruce on November 28, 2016:

Susan B K

omen foundation is a scam. Most of the money donated goes to pay "administrative" costs.

jenb on November 05, 2014:

geez you have a lot of tine on your hands..

Suzie from Carson City on September 11, 2014:

Posh.....Very interesting hub. Although I have only seen bits & pieces of any Springer show, once or twice, that was more than enough.

I would not believe for one second that the sort of insanity that goes on is truly least not completely.

Unless the scouts went out searching for people from the very lowest and scummiest of society, who would do anything & everything shameful for money....How else would they convince human beings to behave like wild animals on National TV?

So I have to think that they get these people who have stupid issues and low intelligence, who actually believe that being on TV and making a few bucks is a great thing. Obviously they pretty much trap these individuals into signing rights away and then film them and goad them into physical, shameful behavior.

A smart person with integrity such as yourself would not let it get that far and you surely did the right thing.....Up++++

Oh BTW....the You Tube Video you included has been taken down. If you get a notice about a "broken link" in your hub....this would be why. Simply go into edit mode and remove the video from your hub and you'll be fine! :)

lol on June 20, 2014:


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