‘Springer’ Hits 3,000: He’s Got Nothing to Worry About

May 8, 2006  •  Post A Comment

While others may scream and wail about the antics on “The Jerry Springer Show,” executive producer Richard Dominick laughs. Nothing seems to bother him, except maybe losing a bet or two. In short, Mr. Dominick is a very successful producer and a very funny man. Among his many career accomplishments are writing for Jay Leno; creating, writing and performing in the Comedy Workshop; and appearing as a guest on “Late Show With David Letterman.” So while Mr. Dominick is a seriously hard-working professional, he doesn’t take himself seriously at all. When TelevisionWeek correspondent Allison J. Waldman posed a few serious questions about his tenure on the show, he answered with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

TelevisionWeek: What’s a typical show day like for you-what do you do? How does a show come together?

Richard Dominick: Every show day is different-if I picked the Mets to win by 2, and the score the night before was 2-1, it is a bad show day. If the Mets won by 2 or more, it is a good show day. Same theory applies during football season, only with the New York Giants. As for what I do, I gave up trying around late spring of 2001. It is difficult to say how a show comes together since we haven’t actually had one come together yet. We almost did once, but the porpoise died backstage.

TVWeek: In your bio, you are called the architect of “The Jerry Springer Show’s” successful form. What does that mean? What was your vision and has it been realized?

Mr. Dominick: That was a misprint-bio should have read only, “The architect of Jerry Springer’s successful form”-he used to have fatter thighs and somewhat of a pot belly. … I made him lose weight. … My vision is 20/20 after Lasik surgery.

TVWeek: How would you describe the Jerry Springer you work with? What is he like?

Mr. Dominick: He wears his makeup to bed. … Enough said.

TVWeek: Your background is in comedy-do you see “The Jerry Springer Show” as a real talk show or a comedy version of a talk show or something else?

Mr. Dominick: Something else.

TVWeek: Even though the critics have slammed it, the show’s been amazingly successful. How do you explain its appeal?

Mr. Dominick: Got me.

TVWeek: How do you keep the show from deteriorating into a wrestling match, especially since there’s a tendency for violence in the confrontations (hence, the security guards)?

Mr. Dominick: Short, quick kidney punches to slow down the guests (hence, the security guards).

TVWeek: How do you decide on themes and stories, and where do the guests come from?

Mr. Dominick: I pick a theme, ask the black Magic 8 Ball if I should do it, turn the Magic 8 Ball over and it either says “Yes,” “No” or “Ask later.” … The guests come from Biloxi, Miss.

TVWeek: How much of the show is planned or scripted?

Mr. Dominick: I don’t know. Like I said, I stopped trying in late spring of 2001.

TVWeek: What episodes stand out in your memory as the most incredible or surprising?

Mr. Dominick: The most surprising will be our 3,000th show; we should have been put in jail years ago.

TVWeek: What do you think of the cultural effect of the show, such as its becoming an opera and being used in movies?

Mr. Dominick: Seven percent of all merchandising. Enough said.

TVWeek: Have the reality shows of today been influenced by “Springer”? In what ways?

Mr. Dominick: Haven’t really watched TV in years since discovering how much porn there is on the Internet.

TVWeek: How do you feel about the competition-in particular, Oprah Winfrey?

Mr. Dominick: Was she that black folk singer? No, that was Odetta. … Who is this Oprah lady?

TVWeek: This is the 3,000th-episode celebration-where do you see “Jerry Springer” going in the future?

Mr. Dominick: Biloxi, Miss.

TVWeek: What is the “Springer” show legacy? That is, how will it be written about and remembered years from now?

Mr. Dominick: It will only be written about and remembered by the Chinese. I have no idea why that is.