The Jenny Jones Show
|The Jenny Jones Show|
|Presented by||Jenny Jones|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||12|
|No. of episodes||1,500|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Telepictures Productions
(1991–2003) (Seasons 1-12)
David Salzman Entertainment/Enterprises (1991–2003) (Seasons 1-12)
Quincy Jones-David Salzman Entertainment
(1994–97) (Seasons 4-6)
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||First–run syndication|
|Original release||September 16, 1991– May 21, 2003|
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 and was distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The show ran for 12 seasons, from September 16, 1991 until May 21, 2003; and was taped in Chicago, Illinois at WMAQ-TV studios.
When the series began, a traditional talk show format reminiscent of Oprah was used. However, ratings were low during 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, Tamar Braxton, 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.
Comparisons and outrageous titles
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 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. Show titles were often sensational, and usually in rhyme. For example, the title "You May Shake It for Money, But Leave Those Sexy Clothes at the Club, Honey!" was used 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.
Murder of Scott Amedure
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 appeared unconcerned as he laughed about that revelation in front of the audience. However, three days after the taping, an upset Schmitz killed Amedure. After the murder made headlines, the producers decided not to air the show, though it aired during Court TV's (now TruTv) coverage of the trial as part of the presentation of evidence to the jury. 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 to 50-year prison term. 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. 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. Schmitz was released on parole on August 21, 2017.
This incident (and other subjects) led to the unprecedented step by television executive Dino Corbin, then-general manager of Chico, California, CBS affiliate KHSL-TV, to pull the plug and cancel The Jenny Jones Show from its line-up. Corbin cited the constant objectionable material being aired over and over again (similar to Jerry Springer and Maury today) as the main reason for the cancellation, not the murder. Corbin mentioned in a local TV special that he was taking a stand for decency in programming while others considered it censorship. It made national headlines much like the murder did. 
By what turned out to be the final two seasons, the show began to drop heavily in the ratings. It was nearly cancelled at the conclusion of season 11, but was saved by a last-minute deal with the Tribune Broadcasting station group, although the subsequent station shuffle necessitated in such key markets as New York City, 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
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
- CJ Belle, National Internet Super Model, Fetish Model, Actress, Performance Artist
- Minsker, Evan (2002-09-20). "Watch Five Essential Dinosaur Jr. Clips". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- "Emotional Pornography on the Talk Shows". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
- "Tv fatal attraction 'jenny jones' guest kills admirer". New York Daily News. 1995-03-11. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- Rosenberg, Howard (1995-03-13). "When a Talk Show's 'Surprise' Backfires". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
- "Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS)". State.mi.us. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Braxton, Greg; Lowry, Brian (1999-05-08). "Jury Orders 'Jenny Jones' to Pay $25 Million". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- Rosenberg, Howard (1999-05-12). "The 'Jones' Verdict--As the Squirm Turns". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Jenny Jones Beats Death Suit". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- 60th Anniversary Show - KHSL CBS 12 Action News Now's YouTube channel, August 30, 2013