Jerry Springer Apr 20, 1998; Chicago, IL, USA; Jerry Springer on the set of the Jerry Springer Show. Mandatory Credit: Anne Ryan/USA TODAY-USA TODAY NETWORK

Jerry Springer, the former Cincinnati mayor, news anchor, and longtime TV host behind the raunchy tabloid talk show that bared his name, died Thursday at the age of 79.

Friday morning on WFAN, former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason remembered Springer. While Springer was most known for serving as the ringmaster of outrageous arguments featuring chair-throwing and wardrobe malfunctions between domestic couples and homewreckers, Esiason remembered him as kind and humble.

“He was fun to be around, he was a great interviewer,” Esiason said. “He was as kind as I can know of anybody being kind back then and would always show up to every event and was really a slice of Cincinnati, a huge slice of Cincinnati. And then of course, his big break came in that show and he made hundreds of millions.”

Their friendship goes back decades, with Esiason quarterbacking the Bengals in the 1980s and Springer an already established staple in the city as a respected news anchor and former mayor.

In 1974, Springer resigned from the Cincinnati City Council after he admitted to soliciting a prostitute. According to Esiason, Springer told inner circles that he paid for sex to prove he wasn’t gay, noting the ’70s were a“different time.”

Springer eventually overcame the sex scandal and continued his political career, becoming Cincinnati’s mayor in 1977. Withstanding the jokes that come with a politician being at the center of a sex scandal helped blaze the path for Springer to become a beloved icon of trashy television. In 1991, he launched The Jerry Springer Show, which began as a real news show, but quickly relished the opportunity to feature scandalous made-for-TV disputes.

“The one thing you could tell from Jerry Springer was how humble he was,” Esiason continued. “He couldn’t believe how big that show became and how popular that show became and how much money he was making. The humble nature of him, and he was a very nice man, and when I saw that yesterday, it was like a little slice of me from Cincinnati went with him.”


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to