Analyzing the Operational Efficiencies of the Jerry Springer Show

I was watching Jerry Springer today (don’t judge me). The show was called “Hillbilly Fights”and there were two girl hillbillies (actually, just white folks with accents) fighting over a guy hillbilly. As usual, the audience gets into it and the hillbilly girls start fighting with the audience. There was an audience member that really got into it and traded blows with one of the girls. Then the audience member grabs the microphone and starts talking trash and starts riling up the audience. A drop of whisky would’ve turned that place into an all out battle royal.

The show lives off of this novelty factor built around outrageousness and it hasn’t gone stale when it should have two years after it got popular. Why?

I figure that there is a limit to how many variations of the love triangle and cheating spouse story. But the audience experience, it seems, is totally open ended. Back in the day, the audience got their word in at the end while goading the guests throughout the show. They can do whatever they want and I assume it’s the best part of being a studio audience member and the best part of watching the show. While I have no scientific proof, I think the audience is getting their word in earlier and earlier in the show and getting rowdier. In this episode, some audience member literally took control of the show – twice.

I think it’s by design. Years ago there were maybe two bodyguards, and now there’s an entire gang. It doesn’t take 12 burly men to hold off two skinny, albeit angry, guys from pounding each other. But if the show is conscientiously allowing the audience to participate earlier in the show, then it makes sense to have so many guys there in case everyone wants to get in on the action.

The show is moving into an interesting territory where the audience members are controlling their own experience. It’s kind of like choose your adventure and its fun to watch because sometimes the audience members are more interesting than the befuddled guests wondering why they didn’t go on Dr. Phil instead. But it also cedes ownership to the people who want it the most. And it frees up the show’s producers from producing the show to merely facilitating it – which is less time consuming and profitable.

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3 responses to “Analyzing the Operational Efficiencies of the Jerry Springer Show”

  1. Brian J. Anderson says :

    Some good insights here. I, too, am a Jerry Springer fan and don’t care who judges me ’cause I’ll judge ’em right after! Yup, the show’s format has changed; now it’s like a family squabble/schoolyard rumble with a no-holds barred attitude to intimidation and an “I dare you” mixer thrown in.

    From an experience perspective, if you’re there in the studio, it’s got to be a lot of fun for those who don’t mind confrontations and have a “I don’t like you and I will tell you right to your face” kind of disposition.

    For those watching from home, the camera feeds indicate who might be the next “real” contestants on the fight card so there’s tension and expectation right from the start. This means that there are several entertainment “venues” going on from the get-go simultaneously. Why, it’s like hockey used to be when bench clearing brawls were allowed which sometimes spilled out in the stands! Lots of action!

    But seriously, the folks that end up on Springer’s spectacle wouldn’t be allowed on Dr. Phil because he deals with mainstream folks gone off the rails whereas Jerry’s guests have been off them longer and maybe probably never on them to begin with.

    But back to our initial discussion, I bet the show’s producers will progress to picking the audience they want to combine with the moods, shapes, mindsets, and drawls of those on stage. Then, you’ll see some security.

    Good post. Finally, I come across a blog with something interesting going on!

  2. Nien says :

    thanks man. that’s humbling stuff.

  3. monica says :

    which probably explains why after watching 10 minutes of jerry springer, i know how the show is going to end.

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