The Jenny Jones Show

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The Jenny Jones Show
Presented by Jenny Jones
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 1,500
Location(s) WMAQ-TV, Chicago, Illinois
Running time 1 hour
Production company(s) Telepictures Productions
David Salzman Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original channel First-run syndication
Original run September 16, 1991 (1991-09-16) – May 21, 2003 (2003-05-21)

The Jenny Jones Show, is an American syndicated daytime tabloid talk show that was hosted by comedian/actress/singer Jenny Jones. It was produced by Quincy Jones-David Salzman Entertainment and Telepictures Productions (last two seasons were by Time-Telepictures Television) and was distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The show ran from September 1991 to May 2003 and was taped in Chicago at WMAQ-TV studios.


When the series began, a traditional talk show format reminiscent of Oprah was used. However, ratings were low the first two seasons, and by 1993 it began to move away from serious subjects and began to take on more unusual subjects and theme shows such as paternity tests, out-of-control teens (including shows in which they are sent to boot camp), confronting former bullies (something Jones dealt with when she was young), makeovers for people who had no sense of fashion or style, celebrity impersonators, talent contests (and at times, people who made it an obsession to enter them, especially parents of the children who enter the pageants/contests/shows), feuding neighbors, strippers and secret crushes. The show would also feature regular live performances by bands of varying genres (notably pop, punk, rock, hip-hop, and R&B), ranging from lesser known bands from the local Chicago area to more well known bands from around the USA and Canada. Many well known artists first appeared on Jenny Jones including Usher, Ludacris, Nelly, and Three Six Mafia, who made their first national TV appearance on the show. The final live performance of alternative rock band Dinosaur Jr. before their initial 1997 disbandment was a performance of "Out There" on the show earlier that year.[1]


During its run, critics would equate this show to The Jerry Springer Show, which was also produced at WMAQ-TV studios, although Jones claimed that her talk show was not as outrageous as Springer's. Critics also believe that some of Jones' ideas were copied from fellow talker Ricki Lake after her show, Ricki Lake, debuted in 1993 and overtook her in the ratings. It was also rumored that when Rosie O'Donnell started The Rosie O'Donnell Show she and Jones had hostility toward each other despite the fact that both their shows were syndicated by Telepictures and both were friends with Lake (both even sent shout-outs to her show, albeit separately). Many of the themes also appear on Maury, such as DNA testing and boot camp, but the guests on Jenny Jones were less contentious than those on Maury.

Outrageous titles[edit]

Show titles were often sensational, and usually in rhyme, for example, "You May Shake It for Money, But Leave Those Sexy Clothes at the Club, Honey!" to describe a sexy makeover show for women whose occupations involve working in nightclubs or strip clubs. The rhyming titles feature began with the show's third season.


On March 6, 1995, Jenny Jones taped an episode called "Same Sex Secret Crushes" on which Scott Amedure, a gay man, confessed to an associate, Jonathan Schmitz, that he had a crush on him. Schmitz's appeared unconcerned as he laughed about that revelation in front of the audience. However, three days after the taping, an upset Schmitz killed Amedure.[2][3][4] After the murder made headlines, the producers decided not to air the show. However, the episode did air on Court TV (now TruTv) when the network was covering the trial. Clips of the episode were also featured in the HBO documentary, Talked to Death.

Schmitz's history of mental illness and alcohol/drug abuse came to light during the trial in which Schmitz was later convicted of second degree murder. He is currently serving a 25-50 year prison term.[5]

Jones and the producers were later sued by Amedure's family for neglecting to find out Schmitz's history of mental illness and substance abuse. Jones testified under oath that the producers told Schmitz that his admirer could be a man, but Schmitz thought that the admirer was a woman. Producers admitted under oath that they deliberately lied to Schmitz in order to get him to come on the show. Jones also admitted that the show did not want Schmitz to know the outcome of his secret crush. Amedure's family won the ruling and the show was ordered to pay $25 million, but that decision was later overturned by the Michigan appellate court which ruled that the producers were not responsible for what happened to the guests after their appearance on the show.[6][7][8][9]

Final years[edit]

By what turned out to be the final two seasons, the show began to drop heavily in the ratings. It nearly got the ax at the conclusion of season 11, but was saved by a last-minute deal with the Tribune station group, although the subsequent station shuffle necessitated in such key markets as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles didn't help the ratings erosion. In the 2002-2003 TV season, Jones' program became the lowest-rated daytime talk show, and after the last original episode aired that spring, Jenny Jones was canceled in the summer of 2003. Reruns continued to air until September 12, 2003.

Cast of characters[edit]

The show also had an in-house cast of regulars, some of whom were originally guests before they became fan favorites:

  • Rude Jude, a DJ who became a fan favorite for his appearance on his past being a bully. He made frequent appearances as an advisor.
  • Raymond Moses, a drill sergeant for troubled young children recognized for his intimidating presence and booming voice. According to his brother, Moses closed his boot camp business in 2013.
  • Tornado "Big Daddy WooWoo" (Comedian)
  • Chela Thomas
  • Valerie Mikita


  1. ^ Minsker, Evan (2002-09-20). "Watch Five Essential Dinosaur Jr. Clips". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  2. ^ "Emotional Pornography on the Talk Shows". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  3. ^ "Tv fatal attraction 'jenny jones' guest kills admirer". New York Daily News. 1995-03-11. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  4. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1995-03-13). "When a Talk Show's 'Surprise' Backfires". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  5. ^ "Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS)". 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Gilbert v. Ferry, No. 04-1207., March 10, 2005 - US 6th Circuit | FindLaw". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  7. ^ Braxton, Greg; Lowry, Brian (1999-05-08). "Jury Orders 'Jenny Jones' to Pay $25 Million". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  8. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1999-05-12). "The 'Jones' Verdict--As the Squirm Turns". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  9. ^ "Jenny Jones Beats Death Suit". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 

External links[edit]