TV

MIPDoc ’14: Jerry Springer, Discovery talk “Tabloid,” “trash TV”

TV shock-talk icon Jerry Springer joined Discovery Networks CEEMEA senior VP and head of channels Paul Welling for a keynote presentation at MIPDoc to discuss the launch of ID Xtra and the Springer-hosted series Tabloid (pictured).
April 6, 2014

For those who blame TV shock-talk icon Jerry Springer and his ilk for aiding and abetting the downfall of modern civilization, the 70-year-old, who is also hosting Discovery ID’s new murder and mystery series Tabloid, has a message for you.

Get over it, already.

“I don’t think that television is that important,” Springer said, during a keynote session at MIPDoc in Cannes touting the international debut of Tabloid and Investigation Discovery’s recently launched, female-skewing sister channel, ID Xtra. “We had a Holocaust before anyone had a television set. Read Shakespeare, read the Bible. There’s nothing on television that isn’t also in some of the greatest writing in history.”

The Jerry Springer Show, which is now in its 23rd season, has tackled everything from warring exes and secret mistresses to a full hour on bestiality, which featured a man who married his horse. (“That was a wonderful show,” he remarked about that particular episode.) Tabloid, however, may not be as controversial, but it will aim to be sensational in its own right, with its exploration of shocking and suspenseful real-life tales of crime, revenge and deception. The show has already been recommissioned by ID in the U.S. for a second season of 10 episodes.

The keynote session also featured Paul Welling, senior VP and head of channels at Discovery Networks Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA), who discussed the launch of ID and its sister channel in the regions. ID Xtra has thus far rolled out to Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia.

Saying that the mystery and suspense genre is one that is “gaining traction across the globe,” Welling called Tabloid “the show that puts the ‘Xtra’ in ID.” While saying he’s keen to air something regarding the ongoing Oscar Pistorius trial, he stopped just short of saying something was already confirmed for international broadcast.

For Springer’s part, while he admitted he doesn’t watch much television himself (“If you’re a journalist and you’re coming home from work, do you want to get home and write a story?”), he thinks Tabloid definitely has universal appeal.

“Look, we are all alike,” he said. “And whatever you see in America in terms of human behavior, you’ll see in other places as well.”

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