The '90s were the heyday of shock TV, after all, when hosts would pull out all the stops to drive their guests to the edge of sanity and titillate their audience. The facts about what happened in 1995 on The Jenny Jones Show are surreal in how dependent they are on a specific era. Throughout the 1990s, Jenny Jones was a ratings-smash and a prototype for shows like Jerry Springer. Her episodes covered everything from teens being too hot to parents not wanting their kids to date outside of their race, and secret crushes. That last topic was the catalyst for Scott Amedure's passing.
Amedure's plan was to surprise his crush, Jonathan Schmitz. But instead of making a love connection, he only made his crush angry. Schmitz had never said that he was gay, and was allegedly offended and out of his mind that Amedure would expose him in such a way. Three days later, Amedure was found deceased. The episode never aired, but about five minutes of the show are online, offering a look at what was meant to be a simple example of shock television.
Jonathan Schmitz, 24, had agreed to appear on the show with his friend Donna, who was actually in on the secret that 32-year-old Scott Amedure was going to confess his crush on TV. After the show, he went out for a long night of drinking, then returned in the early hours of the morning to find a saucy note left for him by Scott Amadure. Completely derailed and distressed by the unexpected combination of events and forward advances by a gay man, Schmitz immediately pulled out enough cash from his bank to buy a .12-gauge.
Then, he went straight to Amedure's home and asked his admirer if he had written the note. After Amedure affirmed that he had, Schmitz allegedly went out to his car and sat there for a while contemplating his options. He then went back into Amedure's home and shot him twice in the chest before calling 911 and confessing.
It's unclear what happened after the show and before Schmitz took Amedure's life, but there are two prevailing theories. Schmitz's lawyer, James Burdick, claims that Schmitz went out drinking with "friends from work." After coming home in the morning, he found a note from Amedure that read: "If you really want to get it off I'm the only one who has the right tool." The next morning Schmitz confronted Amedure and ended his life.
However, The Jenny Jones Show producer Karen Campbell later testified that Schmitz called the studio the day after taping the show and revealed he and Amedure had what producers referred to as a "love connection."
Long after Amedure's passing, his family attempted to make sense of what happened. They blamed The Jenny Jones Show for putting Amedure in a situation where he would reveal his feelings to someone so mentally unstable. Amedure's mother claimed that Jenny Jones "pushed Scott into doing things he didn't want to do" and that he needed to "make it look good for the audience or she would be very mad."
Jones initially wanted Amedure to give Schmitz flowers and then to kiss him on camera. Schmitz's defense lawyer said that Jones "kept twisting the knife."
When appearing on The Jenny Jones Show, Amedure explained to the studio audience how he met Schmitz. When he went to see his friend Donna at her apartment he found John working under her car. Amedure told the audience that he immediately noticed Schmitz's body and how good it looked in his half-shirt.
He went on to say that even though he'd been dreaming up fantasies about his crush involving a hammock, champagne, and whipped cream, he wasn't actually sure if Schmitz was gay.