For better or worse, Jerry Springer revolutionized television, foisting upon the airwaves some of the most garish, freakish, self-involved slices of Americana the nation and world had ever witnessed. In the 1990s, "The Jerry Springer Show" (syndicated, 1990- ) became synonymous for mining the underbelly of American society for its looniest and loudest denizens, showcasing them on a daytime televised circus of which he dubbed himself "ringmaster." The product of Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany prior to World War II, Springer made his early career as a lawyer and politician, initially as a city councilman in Cincinnati, OH, where he survived a sex scandal to go on to become mayor of the city. In the early 1980s, he switched career gears, becoming an Emmy-winning TV news anchor and eventual host of his own eponymous daytime talk show. By the mid-1990s, he refashioned the fairly sober, public affairs chat hour into an increasingly tabloid-inspired examination of arcane social "issues," notably involving antisocial behavior, prompting the show to be syndicated nationwide. "Springer" became a nationwide phenomenon for its voyeuristic airing of obviously troubled, typically poor Americans' twisted foibles and Springer's seeming encouragement of violence, vulgarity and nudity during tapings - all of which drew a chorus of critics all but labeling him the Anti-Christ. The phenomenon prompted "Ringmaster" (1998), a film starring Springer essentially as himself. Now a cultural icon, he routinely lampooned himself and his on-show shtick in comedic cross-media appearances. In the 2000s, Springer hosted a progressive radio talk show and took hosting duties for other shows such as "America's Got Talent" (NBC, 2006- ). Though widely imitated, Springer's formula would remain the gold-standard of daytime tabloid talkers. Springer himself remained ever-self-effacing about his show's cultural imprint, referring to it in <I>The Los Angeles Times</i> as "a silly little show" with "absolutely no redeeming social value whatsoever."