The Jerry Springer Show Celebrates 25 Years: The Host Shares His Most 'Unprofessional' Moment
"I kind of put my finger in his face and yelled at him and suddenly he stood up and he was a big guy," Springer tells PEOPLE of his most memorable moment
Jerry Springer has hosted over 5,000 episodes of his hit talk show, but there is one particular moment that sticks out to him after 25 years on the job.
“Early on, there was one show we did that was serious. We had a neo-Nazi on and I kind of lost it,” Springer tells PEOPLE. “I’d lost my family in the Holocaust, so when he started talking about turning my mother into a lampshade or something, I lost it.”
Not that the former mayor of Cincinnati – who kicks off his show’s 25th season on Monday – is proud of the moment.
“I’m supposed to be able to handle all the outrageous things. But I kind of put my finger in his face and yelled at him,” he says. “Suddenly, he stood up and he was a big guy. I was like, ‘Oh. This was not a good idea.’ Thankfully security got him on the ground.”
Springer considers himself “very lucky” to have been assigned to host his “circus” of a show. He had been a successful anchor on the local news on Cincinnati’s NBC affiliate station for a number of years when the company who owned the affiliate tapped him to host a new talk show.
“I didn’t audition or anything. I was an employee,” he says. “I was still doing the news. The first contract of the show was for six weeks. There was no thought that this would turn into 25 years.”
Now 71, Springer lives in Sarasota, Florida, but spends his Mondays and Tuesdays filming the talk show in Connecticut and the rest of his week traveling around the country hosting the Price is Right Live! tour – and he has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
“I did let the people at NBCUniversal know that I will be stopping when I’m 104. I want to be able to enjoy my retirement,” he jokes. “I’m lucky. I don’t need to make a living anymore. I work because it’s enjoyable to do and people enjoy the show. As long as I’m healthy, I’ll keep doing it. I can’t imagine doing nothing.”
The 25th season of The Jerry Springer Show premieres Monday, Sept. 21. Check local listings.