Jerry Springer: Cutting workers loose is unethical, immoral

NBC Universal is moving production of 'The Jerry Springer Show,' 'Maury' and 'The Steve Wilkos Show' to Stamford, Connecticut.

'Springer' and 'Wilkos' currently tape in Chicago, while 'Maury' is shot in New York.

Jerry Springer is fighting for employees to be able to move from Chicago to Connecticut with the show. With syndicator NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution cashing in on generous Connecticut tax incentives by moving the 'The Jerry Springer Show' to Stamford after this TV season, Springer is taking on his bosses on behalf of his staff so that as many employees as possible at least get the chance to follow their jobs east.

Springer accepts the economic rationale for the Stamford move 'because they're talking about millions and millions of dollars in terms of savings.' The human price in Chicago is another matter.

'In this environment, you just don't say, 'Well, we're moving, bye!' just because you have the legal right to do it,' Springer said earlier this week while working as guest host on Chicago's WGN-AM 720. 'This business of just cutting people loose, it's unethical, it's immoral, I just hate it. I don't want to be part of that.'

Springer said that if he had nixed his show's move, 'then that's the end of the show.' But he feels his efforts already have 'saved more people than I thought we would save.' He is even willing to personally pitch in on moving costs.

Springer said he simply wants the people who have some of those jobs to come with them. 'I think everyone on our show should be offered the option of continuing,' said Springer, who intends to keep his home in Chicago even after his show moves. 'You just don't mess with people like that. It's just horrible. I was totally depressed when I got the news. Obviously I'm going to survive it, but there are a lot of people here with families. They've devoted many years to this' show.

Springer said he expects the absence of the Chicago studio audience will have the greatest on-air effect in Stamford, 30 miles from New York City.' Chicago's a big city, so you get the ethnic diversity, but you also get the Midwest sense of wonderment,' he said. 'There, you're going to get a New York audience, and I don't think anything's strange to them.'

NBC Universal declined to comment. The company is moving 'Springer' and 'The Steve Wilkos Show' from Chicago and Maury Povich's 'Maury' from New York, lured by Connecticut's 30 percent tax credit on production costs and 20 percent tax credit on infrastructure costs beyond the first $1 million spent.

Sources close to negotiations said NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, the company's syndicated television arm, plans to relocate 'The Jerry Springer Show' and 'The Steve Wilkos Show' from Chicago to the new facility this summer in time for the start of the 2009-10 television season. Maury Povich's syndicated NBC Universal program 'Maury' would move there from New York.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Film Office, part of the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, told the Chicago Tribune's Eric Benderoff that although the tax credit for production of movies and some television in the state was increased for this year from 20 percent to 30 percent of wages and purchases, talk shows are not eligible.

'Springer,' 'Maury' and 'Wilkos' have all been renewed for next season, which will be the 19th for Springer, 12th for Povich and third for Wilkos, a former Chicago police officer who gained fame as a bouncer on Springer's show.

Telepictures' Chicago-based 'Judge Mathis' with Greg Mathis and 'Judge Jeanine Pirro' will continue to be produced at NBC Universal's NBC Tower facility, home to NBC-owned WMAQ-Ch. 5. The company will look for tenants to replace 'Springer' and 'Wilkos,' which employ around 100 people.

Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell welcomed NBC Universal as they announced a deal Friday afternoon to set up a large television production studio at the Rich Forum Theater, providing up to 200 jobs.

Jerry's bringing his friends, including Steve Wilkos, his former bodyguard-turned-show-host and Maury, as in, Povich. NBC Universal is expected to make an initial investment of more than $3 million. That's a lot of paternity tests.

The state's 30-percent production tax credit sealed the deal, reports the Governor's office, the same reason Blue Sky Studios opened up a new animation productions studio in Greenwich last month. They also pick up a 20-percent tax credit on infrastructure costs over $1 million.

“This is good news at a time when we need good news, and my administration will continue to do all it can to bring good, dependable jobs to the state,” Rell said.

Start shining those stripper poles, Stamford.

Reposted from broadcastunionnews.blogspot.com