10″ x 12″ Signed May 29, 1997 through the mail
Jennifer Mc Carthy has a great personality. Her vivacious charisma, snappy banter, and amusing facial expressions on MTV’s Singled Out, a hyper-charged nineties version of The Dating Game, made the should-be stupid game show somehow bearable — nay, hypnotic. But McCarthy’s show-business attributes extend beyond mere personality — the twenty-three-year-old former Playboy centerfold exhibits such profound perkiness that Hollywood producers have ignored her meager résumé and inundated her with proposals for game shows, talk shows, and sitcoms.
Just a few short years ago, in 1992, McCarthy was scrambling for funds to finance her second year of nursing studies at Southern Illinois University. She decided to quit school and embark on a modeling career, only to be told she was too curvy. She realized that Playboy prefers full-figured women over waifs, and hand-delivered photographs of herself to the magazine’s Chicago office. The editors liked what they saw and paid McCarthy $20,000 to pose as Miss October 1993. A few months later, she won the Playmate of the Year title and $100,000 in cash and prizes. Now a certified babe, McCarthy moved from her native Chicago — where she grew up with three sisters, a stay-at-home mom, and her father, a steel-plant foreman — to Los Angeles in search of stardom.
Hollywood auditions proved difficult to come by, and it took incessant badgering from Ray Manzella, McCarthy’s forty-seven-year-old manager and live-in boyfriend, to land an interview at MTV. The network’s producer liked what they saw and hired McCarthy to co-host Singled Out, which debuted in the summer of 1995. Funny, telegenic, and able to manhandle fifty testosterone-swollen contestants without incurring (or committing) bodily harm, McCarthy was an immediate success. MTV was eager to retain its hot property and coughed up a $500,000, one-year contract that promotes McCarthy to full-fledged VJ and gives her carte blanche to create a program of any format that best suits her talents.
McCarthy recently opted to bow out of her host responsibilities on Singled Out to concentrate her attention on creating a new MTV sketch-variety series, The Jenny McCarthy Show, which will be, in her words, “kind of like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on acid.” She is also developing another sitcom for NBC, which positions McCarthy as an East Coaster who inherits a Hollywood mansion and gets a job as a movie star’s personal assistant.Playboy, too, was keen to further its relationship with McCarthy; it offered $500,000 to snap more nude photos.
When McCarthy demurred, claiming that this was not the career path she was presently pursuing, the magazine settled for rerunning old pics. Although she also declined proposals from Fox and NBC, McCarthy is nonetheless venturing beyond teen-oriented cable channels and gentlemen’s magazines. She appeared as “blonde nurse” in Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995) and, later,portrayed her first substantive screen character (a neurotic movie star) in The Stupids (1996), opposite Tom Arnold. It seems McCarthy is heeding and exceeding advice that her mother proffered years ago: “Be like Vanna White.”