In the 1990s, The Jenny Jones Show got people to tune in by featuring makeovers, misbehaving teens sent to boot camp, and paternity tests. It also featured people revealing their secret crushes, and it was during one of these segments that things took a tragic turn. In 1995, a crush reveal was swiftly followed by a murder — and The Jenny Jones Show becoming a defendant in a civil trial.
During the 1995 episode of The Jenny Jones Show — which never aired — a 32-year-old man named Scott Amedure revealed his secret crush on a 24-year-old acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz. Three days after the episode filmed, Schmitz murdered Amedure. As reported by NBC News, Schmitz, who is not gay, turned himself into police and said that he shot Amedure because he was embarrassed on national television. In his criminal trial, Schmitz was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison for second-degree murder. He was granted parole and released in 2017 after serving 22 years.
What happened to Jenny Jones' show after the trial?
In addition to Schmitz's criminal trial, there was also a civil trial. Amedure's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against The Jenny Jones Show and its production company Telepictures Productions and distributor Warner Bros. Comedian and musician-turned-talk show host Jones was not a defendant, but she did appear in court for questioning.
Amedure's family claimed that the show was negligent and ambushed Schmitz, who had suffered from mental illness. The initial ruling in 1999 was that Amedure's family would receive $25 million, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. But, this decision was overturned in 2002 when it was ruled that the show "had no duty to anticipate and prevent the act of murder committed by Schmitz three days after leaving the studio," according to Variety. During this time, The Jenny Jones Show continued to air.
How did The Jenny Jones Show end?
The final episode of The Jenny Jones Show aired in May 2003, one year after the civil lawsuit decision was overturned. The talk show was cancelled due to declining ratings and, as it was a syndicated show, not getting picked up in as many markets. Variety reported at the time that the show's ratings peaked in season 4 — the season that came before the murder trial — and that following the trial, there was a "softening of the content." In total, The Jenny Jones Show was around for 12 seasons.
Where is Jenny Jones now?
The YouTube channel, which was started in 2008, has nearly 1 million subscribers, but has not been updated recently, while the site features plenty of new recipes. Jones also released a cook book called Look Good, Feel Great in 2006. This was her second book; she released a memoir called Jenny Jones: My Story in 1997.
In 2008, Jones started a project called Jenny's Heroes, through which she gave away money to 100 people who she deemed heroes in the United States. That program has since ended, and now she operates Jenny's Heroes Canada and Jenny's Heroes California, which provide grants for volunteer firefighters in Ontario, where Jones is from, and California, where she lives now.
The 73-year-old host has definitely had an interesting journey — to put it lightly, you can read her full bio on her site here — and now, she's in the public eye once again thanks to Trial by Media. With cases like the ones Jones was involved with being part of a new docuseries, it looks like the trial by media still isn't over.