TV staple Jerry Springer, returning to Chicago after a four year absence, is the surprising – and always controversial — host of the 55th Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy awards ceremony to be held Nov. 3 at the Alhambra Palace, in the West Loop.
The decision to invite Springer by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), however, was not eagerly embraced by all members of the committee that proposed him.
Board member and multiple Emmy winner writer/producer Lissa Druss Christman, communications strategist with PR firm Serafin & Associates, resigned in protest of the Springer choice.
“It was a spirited discussion,” NATAS president Marcus Riley, an NBC/5 multimedia content producer, told the Tribune. “Jerry brings that out in people. As a board, we’re unified behind that choice.”
Springer believes he will be welcomed back warmly by his former Chicago TV colleagues for his Emmy appearance. “If they didn’t want me there, they wouldn’t have invited me,” Springer told the Tribune.
Unquestionably, Springer’s appearance will ramp up the number of Emmy Awards attendees, who always fill a venue to capacity in expectation of multiple awards in more than 70 categories (27 basic categories that are sub-categorized), mostly news, for television excellence. In 2012, 10 non-broadcaster producers won Emmy statuettes out of 71 categories.
The “Jerry Springer Show” came from the Cincinnati NBC affiliate to Chicago where it was launched as a daily syndicated show. It was produced out of NBC/5 for 17 years until NBC Universal yanked it out of Chicago, and moved them to more incentive-friendly Hartford, Conn., in 2009.
The show leaving Chicago negatively impacted local vendors, specifically Pixel Brothers, which had edited and shot field segments for 10 of Springer’s 17 years in Chicago. The company ultimately closed less than a year later.
For the first time this year, the Midwest Chapter’s entries will be uploaded and judged online.