Springer May Recoil

03/01/1999 at 12:00 AM EST

Start looking for a kinder, gentler approach from the controversial "Jerry Springer" show. Variety says Springer's boss, TV mogul Barry Diller, has become increasingly disenchanted with the tawdry top-rated daytime talk show. Sources familiar with the situation say that the top brass at distributor Studios USA (which is owned by Diller's USA Networks) are moving to rein in the brawling and the sexually-suggestive content. Although Studios USA hoped to make the changes gradually with zero fanfare, plans for the makeover became apparent last week when all of this week's planned "Springer" episodes were yanked and replaced with tamer episodes. How all of this will sit with the feisty host himself -- a passionate defender of the show as is -- remains to be seen.

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