The television distributor for The Jerry Springer Show issued an order forbidding fights and has replaced some scheduled episodes with tamer shows. The actions are apparently another fallout from the recent school shootings.
"We will produce and distribute a program that we feel is responsible - no violence, physical confrontation or profanity," Springer syndicator Studios USA said in a statement on Tuesday.
All three ingredients helped rocket Springer's talk show to the top of the ratings, with episodes often degenerating into hair-pulling, fists-flying donnybrooks.
Springer had no comment on the order, a spokeswoman said.
New programs will have to meet the no-violence standard and reruns will be edited to take out any fights, Studios USA said.
"We will inform stations that we are not providing any Jerry Springer program if these standards cannot be met," the company said.
Studios USA pulled scheduled Springer episodes titled Guess What? I'm Bisexual and I'm Proud to be a Prostitute this week. They were replaced with shows about tall people and street kids.
"I just think you're seeing the reaction to Littleton, to last week's school shooting and the reaction to Jenny Jones," said Richard Kurlander, an expert on syndication for Petry TV. "Those three are coming together to move a lot of people toward the center."
Earlier this month, a Michigan jury issued a $25 million verdict against The Jenny Jones Show for negligence in the shooting death of a homosexual guest who admitted a crush on another man.
Several prime-time shows depicting violence have been yanked from the air by networks since the Littleton school shootings.
Springer's studio, while reaping the benefits of his high ratings, has tried to rein him in before. A year ago, the studio ordered Springer to have security guards move faster to defuse explosive situations.
The studio blamed its own staff, however, for doing a poor job of policing the show.
Written by David Bauder