By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM
Watch Tim Cuprisin's On Media on Time Warner Cable's Wisconsin on Demand Channel 411, with new episodes posted Fridays.

Jerry Springer comes to Milwaukee this week as host of the "America's Got Talent" live show at the Riverside Theater Sunday night.

And the man of a thousand TV jobs has a joke about it.

"I don’t really have any talent," says the man whose trend-setting "Jerry Springer Show" is just about to hit its 20th birthday. "It’s really not fair, there’s so many people with real talent. They’re still waiting on tables."

In a phone conversation this week, Springer talked about that daytime show -- airing here at 1 p.m. weekdays on Channel 18 and 3 p.m. on Channel 24 -- and how he never imagined it would last two decades.

"No, of course not. In, fact my first contract was for six weeks. I was anchoring the news at the time for the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati."

With talker Phil Donahue getting close to retirement, the company that owned Springer's station, and Donahue's show, started looking for a replacement.

"I was assigned to it," he recalled. "I had no expectation at all. And they let me still do the news."

He doesn't do the news anymore and there's no end in sight for the daily show.

"I let NBC-Universal know i'm gonna stop when I’m 107," he joked. "As long as i’m lucky enough to be healthy, i'm going to keep doing it."

But that daytime show is only part of Springer resume. There was a couple years of morning talk radio, a stint on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars, his role as host of NBC's summer "America's Got Talent" competition and a GSN dating show called "Baggage."

Does he consider himself a workaholic?

"Probably," he said. "That’s the honest answer, I guess. Obviously, I don’t need to make a living anymore, and I’m 66."

So why the multiple jobs?

"I need to be doing something. My show is two days a week, Normally, Thursday through Saturday, I'm taping 'Baggage.'"

He's taking a month and a half "off," to do the "America's Got Talent Tour."

"I love it," he said of "America's Got Talent." "It's really a manifestation of the American dream, in terms of show business. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be famous, you don’t have to have a dad in Hollywood."

On TV: The Arboleda family of Neenah, Wis., gets their dream home on the next edition of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" at 7 p.m. Sunday on Channel 12. Milwaukee's Derse Inc., has designed a specialty room for the new home.

  • Discovery is promising "Rescued: The Chilean Mine Story," a special with exclusive access to the miners to air Oct. 28.
  • Spike waited till everybody was safe before announcing that it has a "reality" show called "Coal" coming next spring. It's set in West Virginia.
  • Don't bother tuning in NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this weekend in search of Chilean mine humor. It's a rerun of the Sept. 25 season opener with Amy Poehler and Katy Perry.
  • And speaking of the miners, Fox News Channel's audience peaked at 7 million viewers as the last miner came to the surface, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers It's the biggest audience for the channel since Election Night 2008.
  • Phil Cianciola marks the first anniversary of his daily podcast by chatting with me on the TV edition of OnMedia available today on Time Warner Cable Channel 411. Cianciola's "PhilCast" is hosted here at OnMilwaukee.
  • If your out of town relatives and friends want to see tonight's gubernatorial debate (locally at 6:30 on Channels 10 and 12), they can catch it live on C-Span.

A seasonal goodbye to "Mad Men": One of TV's best dramas wraps up its season at 9 p.m. Sunday on AMC. This season of "Mad Men" featured the near-unraveling of Don Draper, and ends with the apparent unraveling of the ad agency he began at the end of last season.

Here's a key part of last week's episode, when Draper turned the loss of cigarette advertising into a promotional effort for his troubled agency:




Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.