Regis Philbin's recent health problems and scheduling conflicts prevented him from returning to host the second season of America's Got Talent. The producers still looked into the talk show world for their new host and decided on Jerry Springer. Springer was flattered.
Interview: Jerry Springer on America's Got Talent
"It was offered to me and here I am, 63 and they're offering me a network show," he said. "So it seemed like fun and I love working with regular people. These are regular people. I really enjoy them so it's a fun job."
Though he got the job, Springer gives props to his predecessor. "No one fills in for Regis. He's the best there ever was at this so you pay homage to him and if I tried to be like him it'd be foolish and I'd look foolish and it'd be an insult to him, so I'm not going to do that. I'll just do it the way I would do it and it will be a different show. Hopefully it will be okay."
Already a defender of the little guy on his talk show, Springer continues supporting the contestants on Talent. "I like them. I like all the guests. I'm just a regular person too. I'm not part of a Hollywood scene or anything like that so I'm just a regular person from the Midwest. Unlike they are, I don't have any talent. They have some and so I'm rooting for them. It's not difficult for me. These are like people that would live on your own block. I protect them against the judges. The judges can be pretty rough on them and I don’t want them to be rough on them because good lord, we invite these people to be on to try something. You can give them a low score, fine, but we don't need to insult them or be mean to them."
Of course, with some of the outrageous acts, Springer could be scouting for future talk show guests. "Just in the shows that we've taped, I have already seen people that clearly could be on my show and they're before me right now. There is a common denominator, and that is these are people who are not famous, standing before America and either saying something or doing something that they enjoy doing, whether or not they're talented. The judges obviously will determine. But the joy in the show, and I'm not being cynical. I absolutely mean this, God's truth, you go into that audition room, and I didn't know that coming in. I didn't know what to expect to be honest. But you about go into that audition room, and you see hundreds, a thousand people ready to audition, and they are, every one of them is a happy person. They are in the aisles. They are stretching their vocal cords, they're juggling. Once they come out they get beaten up, but for a few moments this is America, and I love it."
America's Got Talent returns June 5th on NBC.
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