With the "Jerry Springer Show" ending it's nearly 30-year run on television, I discovered a sad Kalamazoo connection to the King of Sleazy TV.

Kalamazoo business owner, Jeffrey Campbell sued against the "Jerry Springer Show" alleging that the show did not do thorough enough background checks which he believed resulted in the 2000 death of his 52-year-old mother, Nancy. Nancy and her ex-husband, Ralf Panitz, appeared on an episode of Springer called "Secret Mistresses Confronted" with Nancy under the impression that they would reconcile. Instead, Panitz and his new wife, Eleanor, lured her on to the show under false pretenses, and humiliated her by making accusations that she was stalking and obsessed with Panitz. Three months after the filming of the episode, on the day it aired, Nancy was found beaten to death in her home, a crime Panitz was later found guilty of. Jeffrey Campbell claimed that the show's producers exacerbated an already turbulent and physically abusive relationship between Nancy and Panitz. He was seeking $25 million in damages. Eventually the lawsuit was dropped.

What people do for ratings. I, for one, and very happy to see an end to Springer.


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