Were the Fights on 'Jerry Springer' Real? Show's Bodyguards Share Secrets Behind Brawls After Host's Death

"Jerry Springer" started out as a talk show with serious aspirations, landing interviews with the likes of Oliver North about the Iran Contra Affair. Eventually, "Jerry Springer" became the place to watch epic brawls.

The death of talk show legend Jerry Springer has revived an age-old question: were those fights on his show real?

For years, there were rumors that it was a setup and that people were paid money to throw a punch.

Now, Jim Moret talks with three of the show's bodyguards to get their takes on what was going on behind the scenes.

"Jerry Springer" turned the idea of a talk show into a full-contact sport over the course of its 27 seasons.

Viewers were regularly treated to smackdowns between sisters or fistfights between friends. There was punching, pinching, pushing, pounding and a whole lot of hair pulling. In some cases, even Springer himself had to make a run for it as some of the guests came after him.

Through it all however, a dedicated team of bodyguards stood by ready to diffuse and, if need be, physically put an end to any fighting between the guests.

But some "Jerry Springer" fans still wonder if those fights were real or staged.

"It was real," one of the famed bodyguards tells Inside Edition. "These people were finding out a tremendous, heartbreaking surprise and they reacted appropriately. They were mad."

One of the bodyguards notes that while he hears the claim that guests were paid to throw punches, that was not the case at all. "Nobody, to my knowledge, no one ever got paid for throwing a punch," he says. 

And the most memorable brawls?

"For me, it was the food fights," says one of the bodyguards. "At least once a season we'd have a food fight and I would eventually get caught in the middle of it."

Another recalls a more classic "Springer" smackdown.

"This family, and they were legit that they did not get along. I think that was the longest and toughest fight that we're ever had because it almost didn't end. Even when the cameras stopped, they were still going," he says.

Also real, according to former head of security Steve Wilkos? The episode where he officiated a unique wedding.

"You know, I married the horse," Wilkos tells Inside Edition. "I was there. I mean, that was a real story.

"I would say, you know, 90% of it was real," Wilkos says of the show in general. 

The bodyguards also recall travelling with Springer, and the rock star treatment he enjoyed.

"It was like Beatlemania at the airport restaurants," one recalls.

"Jerry Springer" started out as a talk show with serious aspirations, landing interviews with the likes of Oliver North about the Iran Contra Affair. Eventually, "Jerry Springer" became the place to watch epic brawls.

Jerry Springer creator Burt Dubrow says the fights were not planned, but also not discouraged.

"We never had a meeting and said, 'Hey, let's put fights up there,'" Dubrow says. "It was nobody's idea. It happened. And then we were smart enough to take advantage of it, and it became a thing."

Springer left his eponymous talk show in 2018, and until last year had been appearing on "Judge Jerry." 

He died this week after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 79. 

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