Typically guests appear, usually to reveal a secret, a heated ‘discussion’ develops, and then the fights begin. Chairs are tossed, hair is pulled, and punches are thrown. The audience at this stage normally eggs the guests on with chants of ‘Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.’ Anyone invited to be a guest on the show has to know that any news they receive will be bad, such as the lover is gay, a porn star, cheating on them, is not the gender they believed, etc. Guests that appear on the show can be male, female and are from different backgrounds and ethnicity. When guests act particularly outrageously, their problems become fodder for dinner conversations all over America. The guests are famous, but only for their problems, their ugliness, and their insanity-like circus freaks. Springer, in fact, is referred to as a circus ringmaster.
As ringmaster, Springer always makes sure that there is someone who is abused, and who learns of a betrayal and is hurt by the information. This is a key moment in every show. It’s no doubt the very formula Springer and executive producer Richard Dominick brainstormed nine years ago. Springer knows how hard to push, though the situations are often so volatile that they require little more than a nudge. The contestants are also clearly aware of their role, and play to the camera without self-consciousness.
At the end of the show jerry normally wishes all the guests the best for the future and then he speaks to the camera and addresses the viewers at home. He shows concern to the way society is behaving and gives a few words of wisdom before ending the show and telling us to ‘take care of yourselves, and each other.’
Kilroy, an ex British MP, himself comes across as a really caring family man and he never misses an opportunity to mention his grandson and it is obvious from what he says and the way that he says it, he is really proud of his family.
He is really good at changing the subject, or sometimes if things look like they are going to erupt into an argument he is really good at diffusing the situation.
Kilroy is a highly professional debate show host, who demonstrates humour, congeniality, compassion and a genuine understanding of the participants in his show, particularly if a sensitive subject is being tackled.
Kilroy which is a British show, is screened between 9am and 10am every weekday on BBC1. This one-hour programme is on every weekday morning at 9.00am (BBC 1) and has an invited audience of about 100 people. There is a mixture of both male and female and it can be a mixture of different races. The audience are usually well dressed and don’t swear. Each morning one particular subject is discussed and by far the majority of these subjects are about some aspect of personal relationships.
The show begins with some soft music, which sets a very calm, yet serious atmosphere. Kilroy walks to the middle of the audience and the camera zooms in on him at eye level as he talks. This angle of shot creates equality, a friendliness between the host and the TV audience.
The studio is well lit, clean and quite small and comfortable. The subtle colours of the furniture help to create a very warm comfortable environment, which encourages chat and discussion.
The subjects discussed cover a wide range of relationship, social and topical issues and although many themes are revisited, they are often approached from a different angle, but because certain issues will always be popular, it makes sense to cover these subjects at more regular intervals.
Kilroy has the right temperament for this type of show, in that he gives the appearance of being genuinely interested in people’s stories, whilst at the same time being in full control of the debate. He also has the knack of extracting details from people who under normal circumstances would not tell to their dearest friend, but they willingly confide information to a nationally broadcast television programme. He behaves occasionally like a father or a friend.
After Kilroy’s introduction the first five or ten minutes is normally spent with just one member of the audience, when the subject and their circumstances are discussed in great detail. This normally sets the scene for the whole programme and throughout the programme Kilroy will return to this person, especially if the debate seems to be going off-course. The camera looks down slightly on people with an opposite view whereas an eye level shot is used on Kilroy most of the time. This may be to enforce the idea that he is part of the audience.
The hand picked audience will normally contain people from both sides of the debate, plus a number of experts in the subject. The debate is controlled.
The subjects covered aren’t incredibly controversial and there aren’t any participants who have personal grievances with each other, like on the Jerry Springer show, so there isn’t really any animosity or tension.
Kilroy also has the knack of introducing laughter, without ridiculing anybody, and sometimes will make people laugh to defuse a situation where tempers may be rising. The audience have to speak into the microphone held by Kilroy if they want to make a comment. He moves around the studio for the majority of the time, enabling everyone to put across their personal views. The interaction with the individual participants is definitely enhanced because of the personal contact with Kilroy, as he sits beside each person who is speaking.
Kilroy normally finishes the show with a final word from the experts and tries to remain as neutral as possible and carries on talking to the audience whilst the camera zooms away from the audience and the sound fades out.
Both shows have titles on screen throughout the show for the benefit of viewers who may have missed the beginning of the show and not know what the debate was about.
In conclusion, although the Jerry Springer show and Kilroy are chat shows, the audience they are aimed at are totally different. The Jerry Springer Show is based on a feeling of superiority to the guest’s mentality, whereas The Kilroy Show deals with the audience on a more equal level. The issues dealt with by both the shows are also different. The Jerry Springer Show makes no attempt to attack real issues, whilst Kilroy tries to deal with issues, which affect society as a whole. As the shows are aimed at completely different audiences, the attitudes of the hosts are also very different. Jerry Springer has a sarcastic attitude towards his guests and Kilroy tries his best to appear concerned with the problems of his guests.
Like all chat shows, people only watch them to find out how sad other people’s lives are to make them feel better about their own. It shows people from all walks of life, showing no prejudice against colour, size, shape or background. The Jerry Springer show is deliberately outrageous and he likes to have fun. Some call him patronising, some outright cannot stand him but because the show has been running a long time it has a firm place in the talk show world.