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Dinges: Jerry Springer’s dating show makes Austin visit

Gary Dinges
Talk show host Jerry Springer was in Austin recently, taping episodes of “Baggage on the Road.”

Austin is Jerry Springer’s kind of town.

We are, after all, more than a little, well, weird. And we’re pretty darn proud of it.

So, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that the outlandish host visited the city to shoot a few episodes of his new dating show, “Baggage on the Road,” which recently got a 20-episode order from the Game Show Network.

Springer and his producers set out last month to find mates for some sexy singles with various quirks — “baggage” — that have made dating difficult for them. They plan to do the same in Baton Rouge, La., and two other yet-to-be-named cities.

A premiere date hasn’t been announced yet.

With his over-the-top talk show now in its 24th year, Springer says nothing really surprises him anymore. Not even Austinites’ baggage.

“Everyone has baggage,” Springer said. “Usually, though, you don’t find out until six months — or six years — into a relationship. We’re speeding things up.”

Springer says he was the logical choice to serve as host.

“I’m the king of baggage,” he said. “It was pretty obvious.”

Just like his talk show, Springer promises everything you see on “Baggage on the Road” is “truthful — and outrageous.”

“These are just regular people,” he said. “I’ve never met a human being who couldn’t be on my show. Everyone has something in their life they’re dealing with — some of us just had a better gene pool with better parents.”

“The Jerry Springer Show,” which airs locally at noon weekdays on CW affiliate KNVA-TV, was just renewed until 2018, so plan on meeting plenty more “regular people” in the years to come. It’s a job Springer, a former TV newscaster and politician, never could have imagined.

“I’m living this incredible, lucky, charmed life,” he said. “I’ve got no talent, and yet I’m making my living in showbiz.”

Addition to morning newscast

Early risers have likely noticed a new face on KVUE’s top-rated “Daybreak” and “Midday” newscasts.

Recent arrival Cori Coffin has been anchoring the ABC affiliate’s 5 a.m., 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. news broadcasts on a temporary basis alongside Bryan Mays and meteorologist Albert Ramon.

Coffin comes to Austin after spending the past three years at KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colo., where she also handled morning and midday anchor duties.

At KVUE, Coffin is filling in for anchor Yvonne Nava, who is on maternity leave after giving birth to her second son, Bodhi, late last month.

When Nava returns after the holidays, executive news director Frank Volpicella said Coffin will take over as anchor of KVUE’s 4:30 a.m. newscast, a spot vacated by Jessica Vess, who left recently to take a public relations job at Austin Community College.

Weekend morning anchor Jade Mingus has been handling 4:30 a.m. duties on an interim basis, Volpicella said, with former KVUE anchor/reporter Amy Johnston-Harper filling in for Mingus on Saturday and Sunday mornings on a freelance basis.

New meteorologist signs on

Speaking of KVUE, the station’s weather team is once again fully staffed.

The station has hired Jared Plushnick to handle weekend morning weathercasts, Volpicella said.

He replaces Ilona McCauley, who signed off in late August.

Plushnick didn’t have to travel very far for his new gig. He arrives in Austin after three years as chief meteorologist at KAGS-TV, the NBC affiliate in College Station.

Both KAGS and KVUE are owned by Gannett.

This summer, KVUE hired Lynae Miyer as its weekend evening meteorologist. She took the place of Andrew Chung, who has been helping fill in the gaps while the station worked to get fully staffed again.

Read my blog at or follow @gdinges on Twitter to get the latest updates on local radio and TV stations.

‘The Jerry Springer Show’