Humiliation On TV Talk Show Leads To Murder: The Shocking Story of Scott Amedure & Jonathan Schmitz

(Jonathan Schmitz at a court appearance. Picture credit: Mirror)

 Most of us love a good talk show. I'm one of those people who loves watching re-runs of The Jerry Springer Show and Donahue and back in the 1990s it seemed that talk shows were everywhere on TV. From Montel to Ricki Lake to Trisha, the appetite for daytime talk shows was huge. 

Of course talk shows had always been a thing but in the 1990s it just seemed to be the main era for them. If I was to list all of the chat shows from the 90s, it would take up a whole post but you get the idea. There's still some of these shows around now but not as much, it seems our appetite for trashy TV has turned more towards reality TV programmes like Real Housewives (not my cup of tea) or The Only Way Is Essex. 

In this day and age a lot of the things that were said and done in these shows would not be acceptable now. There would be outrage and complaints, they'd be taken off the air but back in the 1990s as well as the 1980s, there were still a lot of things to be learned and a lot of backwards way of thinking. 

If you get a chance, please watch some re-runs of the Donahue show on YouTube, he had some fascinating topics discussed and it was so raw and real and at times very shocking. I'll include some clips from his show at the end of this post that you may find interesting to watch. 

Anyway, a lot of these shows have since been cancelled. In the UK there was a lot of commotion over a popular show called The Jeremy Kyle Show. It was a show who's guests were mainly from poor backgrounds and they would be exploited (in my opinion) for entertainment purposes. For example you would have people who had missing teeth or had something wrong with their appearance and Jeremy (a handsome, well dressed man in a fancy suit of a certain class) would sit and shout at them and often talk all over the top of them whilst the audience laughed, cheered and spurred him on. It was like some messed up adult pantomime only this was real people's lives that were being mocked.  

I'm sure The Jeremy Kyle Show did help some people with substance misuse problems but on the whole it was just more focused on shocking the viewers. 

The reason I'm talking about this is because it is relevant to the case that I have been working on this week and you'll understand why. One of the guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show recently took his own life after being on the show. Jeremy and his team were accused of setting this man (and all previous guests) up by asking him all sorts of questions before he went on to the stage and telling him things to get him angry. This has been mentioned so many times about guests being 'psyched up' by show organisers in an attempt to spice it up for the viewers, that's why you will often see someone come out on to the stage and start shouting and swearing right off the bat because they've been backstage seething. 

Due to the man's death the show was canceled. It was a huge deal over here because despite the poor taste, The Jeremy Kyle Show was very successful over here and had millions of viewers every week. 

In this post I'm going to be talking about how these shows that a lot of us enjoyed watching (and turned the channel as soon as they were finished without a second thought) were more than just 30-50 minutes of 'entertainment', there was real people on those stages, some were paid actors but a lot of them were real people from difficult backgrounds and when the cameras stopped rolling they returned home to face the music.

There's so many tragic stories I could tell you about things that have happened to guests because of these types of chat shows but today I'm focusing on this story, one that you may have heard of before as it shocked the world back in the 90s and is still talked abut today. 

So let's get into it..,

The Jenny James Show was a popular American talk show that began in the 1990s and covered various topics from serious discussion to trashy.  By trashy I mean shows dedicated to people being pregnant and they didn't know who the father was, someone sleeping with someone's sister etc etc and another show dedicated to revealing secret crushes. 

(The Jenny Jones Show. Picture credit: Newsweek)

Now, most of us would think that was fun, for people to surprise their crushes on national television, what could possibly go wrong? What's sinister about that? Of course the crush may turn the person down which would sometimes be the case when the cameras stopped rolling but nobody could have foreseen just how dangerous this actually was. You may have a crush on someone but that person might be married, have a pregnant partner at home, an abusive, paranoid partner at home?. You just don't know what can of worms you are dealing with. What might seem as a bit of fun and a laugh is right out there for all to see and if you're the crush, can you imagine the sheer horror of being put on the spot and everyone knowing about it and if you didn't feel the same way about that person, how do you respond?

This was the case with 'macho man' Jonathan Schmitz who thought he was a hit with the ladies and to be fair he was, he was a handsome young man. Image and appearance was everything to him and he was one of those guys who liked to be having a beer with the boys and watching sports. His ego grew even bigger when he was contacted by The Jenny Jones Show to come on as a quest for a surprise. 

According to Jonathan, they told him there was a woman who had a crush on him and wanted to tell him on the show. Jonathan knew a few pretty girls and had some ideas of who it could possibly be. He was nervous about the prospect of going on TV but at the same time loved all the attention so he went along. 

The Jenny Jones Show wasn't doing a live broadcast, they were doing a taping to be edited and put out later. Jonathan arrived on the day in question and sat backstage all ready to go on and see who this mystery girl was. 

What Jonathan didn't know was that another young man was already making his way to the stage by the name of Scott Amedure who Jonathan knew and the pair got on quite well and lived in the same area. 

(Scott Amedure. Picture credit: Mirror)

Scott was there to reveal his crush and the audience laughed and giggled as he talked about how hot his crush was as well as some naughty, sexual fantasies he had. Jenny Jones pressed him about how he felt about this crush and Scott revealed that the person he desired was a man. Back in the 90s this was still seen as a something shocking by narrow minded people, a lot of Jenny Jones's viewers were housewives and single middle aged women who had been brought up a certain way and were closed off to a lot of the world and different cultures etc. The audience wasn't hostile towards Scott, they seemed to find it all amusing and fun. Scott seemed to be blushing and excited, almost as if he was expecting his crush to jump into his arms. He had a female friend with him too who also talked about how much Scott liked this guy. 

The trouble was, Scott's crush was Jonathan! It was a recipe for disaster. 

When Jonathan was finally brought out to the stage after being told his female admirer was about to appear, he greeted Scott and his female friend and sat down, it was all pleasant. At first, Jonathan thought that the lady sat with Scott was his admirer but soon enough Scott dropped the bombshell as Jonathan sat in his seat squirming and trying to keep the fixed smile on his face. 

(The taping of the show featuring Scott & Jonathan's appearance. Picture credit: Esquire)

Jonathan was clearly embarrassed and putting a brave, happy face on it but the whole situation was uncomfortable and everyone was looking at him. He tried to be polite to Scott but it was obvious that he didn't feel the same way and you could see that Scott was a bit disheartened by this. What was Scott thinking by doing this? Surely this could have been said and done in private? It wasn't a great situation as both of the men left the studio feeling crushed and embarrassed one way or the other. 

(Jonathan on The Jenny Jones Show. Picture credit: Mirror)

Word soon spread about what happened and Jonathan's macho pals at the bar thought the whole thing was hilarious. Instead of taking it lightheartedly and joining in the laughs, Jonathan became more and more angry and paranoid as the night went on. He sat and thought about what happened over and over again. 

The truth was, was that Jonathan and his friends were homophobic and saw themselves as big, tough guys. For Jonathan, this was pure humiliation and it through him into some sort of downward spiral of depression. 

Scott was determined though, not put off by what happened on the show, he mistook Jonathan's smiles and easy going manner (which was all down to feeling awkward and embarrassed) as not a total rejection, he felt that there was still a possibility for them both. 

Jonathan continued to drink and dwell on flashbacks on the audience, the laughing and Scott, he felt betrayed and humiliated. 

Just a couple of days later, Scott sent Jonathan a note and this tipped him over the edge. Jonathan went out to buy a gun and went to Scott's home where he shot him twice in the chest before calling the police and handing himself in. He told the police ''He played a very f**king bad thing on me, he took me on Jenny Jones''. Scott was just 32 years old. 

At Jonathan's trial his lawyer claimed that his depression and battle with Graves Disease had also clouded his judgement on the day that he killed Scott but he was found guilty of second-degree murder and given 25-50 years which was later overturned on appeal. He had a re-trial and got the same outcome and original sentence.

Jonathan said at his trial: ''I would like to say the word, sorry. Will they accept my sorry? I found it in my sorrow. Please accept it today because tomorrow is tomorrow'',

(Jonathan in recent years; Picture credit: Inside Edition)

Jonathan spent 22 years in prison and was released in 2017 where he continues to lead a quiet life, Jonathan is now 51 years old. Scott's family are divided because they feel that because he took Scott's life he should still be behind bars. On the other side they feel some sort of sympathy for him because of how everything happened.

What are your thoughts on this story? Let me know below or elsewhere on my social media

RIP Scott. 

Further Reading & Sources: 

Scott Amedure & Jonathan Schmitz: Article | Express

Scott Amedure | Wikipedia

Jonathan Schmitz | Murderpedia

Jonathan Schmitz: Article | Daily Mail

(Clip) The Phil Donahue Show: Nazi Doctor Josef Mengele's Son In Shocking & Uncensored Interview

(Clip) The Phil Donahue Show: WWF Drug & Sex Scandal (1992)

The Phil Donahue Show: Holocaust Debate

The Phil Donahue Show: 1989 Interview With Rock Hudson's Ex Lover Marc Christian

(Clip) The Jenny Jones Show

News Report on Jonathan Schmitz | ABC News

Scott Amedure | Find A Grave Memorial

Thank you for checking out my recent post, hope to see you here again next Sunday or on my socials x


  1. Brilliant and amazing case Jo !

    For the most part, I wasn’t aware of these TV shows and I didn’t know the case of Jonathan Schmitz until today. Thank you so much for covering the case.

    I found the whole case sad and tragic. These shows went definitely too far. Jonathan has some serious issues. I guess that he would have commits a crime at some point in his life but the show definitely makes him snap.

    I will definitely check all the links that you left at the end of your True Crime case. Thank you so much for sharing them. I always find your links so informative and interesting.

    RIP Scott Amedure

    1. Thank you so much for reading and checking out the links. I agree with what you're saying, it takes a lot for someone to pick up a gun and shoot someone not once but twice, extreme anger issues there which as you say could have popped up in another situation at some point. Hopefully Jonathan had had thorough counselling and anger management sessions whilst he was in prison and has a different approach. For a show that wasn't even broadcasted he went too far. I'm sure if he'd gone to the producers and said he wasn't comfortable for the footage to be shown then some sort of arrangement could have been made. Scott didn't deserve to lose his life. Thank you again x

  2. Shame, but I think the show has a lot to answer for, what did they think would happen? Obviously nothing great was gonna come from embarrassing someone in front of a crowd.