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Scott declared his love for Jonathan on The Jenny Jones Show. 3 days later, Scott was dead.

In 1995, Jonathan Schmitz was invited on to The Jenny Jones Show after producers informed him he had a secret admirer who wanted to come forward.

When the talk show began in 1991, the format was akin to that of The Oprah Winfrey Show – one of the highest-rated daytime talk shows in history. But low ratings for Jenny Jones led to a reconfiguration of her content, and by 1993, it steered away from any sliver of highbrow content and went in the direction of tabloid topics.

Inspired by the likes of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, The Jenny Jones Show specialised in segments on secrets and scandals, dramas and disputes. Paternity tests, affairs with best friends and disobedient teenagers were just some of the segments that viewers tuned in for. Their entire format would rely on exploiting individuals who would share with the world their deeply personal matters.

On March 6, 1995, Jenny Jones arrived for work, ready to tape an episode entitled ‘Same-Sex Secret Crushes’. The episode would never go to air, due to the devastating fallout that would prevail.

jenny jones show
Jenny Jones in 1991. Image: Getty.

Jonathan Schmitz was waiting in the green room, unable to hear anything being said on stage.

Unbeknownst to him, a man he knew through a mutual connection, Scott Amedure, was standing on stage with Jones. In front of an audience, he expressed his sexual fantasies involving Jonathan.

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Jones asked Scott to elaborate on the more explicit details of his daydreams of Jonathan. They included strawberries and whipped cream, Scott explained.

Following this awkward interaction, Jonathan is brought on stage as he is informed of Scott's love for him and the audio of his fantasies is played back.

Watch: Part of The Jenny Jones Show segment in which Scott professes his love for Jonathan. Post continues below video. 

Video by Good Morning America

Johnathan said he was "definitely heterosexual," as the audience laughed. With a smile on his face, Jonathan rejected Scott.

Three days later, Jonathan drove to Scott's home after finding a sexually suggestive note. After Scott confirmed it was he who wrote it, Jonathan fatally shot his 'secret admirer' twice in the chest with a newly purchased 12-gauge shotgun.

Just seconds later, Jonathan called 911, informing them of what he had done. When questioned by police, Jonathan admitted he was so humiliated by the appearance on The Jenny Jones Show that he killed the man responsible for taking him on.

"Because he played a very f**king bad thing on me. He took me on Jenny Jones," he told police, according to Esquire

jenny jones show
Jonathan Schmitz on The Jenny Jones Show. Image: NBC.
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In 1996, Jonathan Schmitz was found guilty of second-degree murder and served 22 years in jail for his conviction.

During the trial, host Jenny Jones testified, and defended the show, telling jurors that she believed the "same-sex crushes" segment was "light-hearted" and "fun", and refuted claims it was "ambush television," according to The New York Times

In 2017, Jonathan was released from jail.

The distressing incident is part of the new Netflix series, Trial By Media, which has George Clooney as one of the executive producers.

In the series, Scott's brother, Frank Amedure, says the fault cannot solely rely on his brother's murderer.

"He was a victim, too," he says of Jonathan. "I don't argue that.

"I blame the producers probably just as much, because it was their job to go out and find people that they could exploit. That's what they do for a living."

Scott Amedure's family also filed a civil lawsuit against the show and was awarded $25 million. However, the verdict was appealed and the award was overturned.

The Jenny Jones Show continued for another eight years following the murder incident, before it was cancelled in 2003, recording the lowest ratings for any talk show.

Feature image: Getty Images / Netflix. 


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