Jersey Shore: MTV’s Highest-Rated Series Ever

by | Aug 28, 2017


It’s a lot of hair gel, suntan lotion and skimpy clothing!


Jersey Shore was an American reality television series that was hosted by MTV in December 2009, and it lasted for three years. The series follows the lives of eight housemates spending their summer at the Jersey Shore.

The season two followed the cast escaping the cold northeast winter to Miami Beach, Florida. By season three the cast returned to the Jersey Shore. The fourth season was filmed in Italy in 2011. The show returned for a fifth season, which was at Seaside Heights, New Jersey in 2012. The fifth season, which was the finale, was aired on March 2012. Later that month, MTV confirmed that the series would return for their sixth season. On August 2012, MTV announced that the Jersey Shore would end after the sixth season, which premiered on October. The series finale aired on December 2012.

The show debuted amidst so many controversies regarding the use of the words “Guido or Guidette”. Another criticism was the portrayal of Italian-Americans because some of the members of the cast were not of Italian descent. Also, for perpetuating stereotypes as well as scrutiny from locals because the cast members were not residents of the area.

Among the educational institutions that have had classes or conferences about the show are the University of Chicago and the University of Oklahoma. In 2010, the cast of Jersey Shore were named on Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People list. The series has since been exported to dozens of countries worldwide. In Japan, the series was titled ‘MTV Jersey Shore – the New Jersey life of macaroni rascals’.

There are several remakes of the series in other countries. Two are set in the United Kingdom: the well-known Geordie Shore that was set in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and The Valleys, which is filmed and set in Cardiff, Wales. Another remake of the show is Gandía Shore, which was set in Gandía, Spain. Acapulco Shore premiered in September 2014.


The Controversies


In 2010, MTV received criticisms from Italian-American organizations for the way they marketed the show, as it freely used the word Guido to describe the cast members. The term “Guido” is generally an ethnic slur when referring to Italians and Italian Americans. One promotion stated that the show was to follow, “eight of the hottest, tannest, craziest Guidos”, while another advertisement stated, “the show exposes one of the tri-state area’s most misunderstood species … the GUIDO. Yes, they really do exist! Our Guidos and Guidettes will move into the ultimate beach house rental and indulge in everything the Seaside Heights, New Jersey scene has to offer.”

Cast members Snooki and JWoww are not born Italian. Snooki is Chilean, but was adopted while still an infant by Italian American parents. Jwoww is an Irish-Spanish. Ronnie, Sammi, and Angelina are only of partial Italian descent. Ronnie is half Puerto Rican, Sammi is half Greek, and Angelina is half Polish.

Prior to the series debut, UNICO National formally requested that MTV cancel the show. In a letter to the network, UNICO called the show a “… direct, deliberate, and disgraceful attack on Italian-Americans …” UNICO National President Andre DiMino said “MTV has festooned the ‘bordello-like’ house set with Italian flags and green, white, and red maps of New Jersey while every other cutaway shot is of Italian signs and symbols. They are blatantly as well as subliminally bashing Italian-Americans with every technique possible …” Around this time, other Italian-American organizations joined the fight including the National Italian American Foundation, the Order Sons of Italy in America, and the internet watch-dog ItalianAware.

MTV issued a press release in response to the controversy, which stated in part, “the Italian-American cast takes pride in their ethnicity. We understand that this show is not intended for every audience and depicts just one aspect of youth culture.” Since the appeals for the show’s removal, some sponsors have requested their ads not be aired during the show. Among these sponsors are Dell, Domino’s, and American Family Insurance.

In a 2010 interview, the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie called the show “negative for New Jersey” because most of the cast members are not residents of New Jersey. According to the governor, the program “takes a bunch of New Yorkers and drops them at the Jersey Shore and tries to make America feel like this is the real New Jersey”. Governor Christie encouraged people to experience the real Jersey Shore for themselves rather than watch it through MTV: “I can tell people: They want to know what New Jersey really is? I welcome them to come to New Jersey any time.”

On the contrary, a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released in February 2010 showed that 59% of Americans who had seen the show had a favorable view of New Jersey compared to only 44% of those who had not seen the show. The FDU poll repeated the national telephone survey in 2011 and it still showed similar results. Thus, poll director Peter Woolley concluded that “These measures… suggest the show isn’t hurting the nation’s view of the state. In fact, it may be promoting one of the state’s best features–not Snooki, but the shore itself.”

However, in September 2011, Governor Christie prohibited a $420,000 tax incentive awarded to the show by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, stating: “As chief executive, I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens.”



The Cast (where are they now?)


Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino


After his debut on Jersey Shore, Sorrentino had a number of reality shows including Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, Worst Cooks in America, his own series The Sorrentinos and the upcoming Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars — Family Edition. Off-screen, Sorrentino has struggled with personal issues. He and his brother Marc Sorrentino were charged on tax offenses in 2014, and encountered additional tax-related charges in April 2017. The reality star has also been struggling with addiction. After nearly two years of soberness after a 2012 period in rehab, a 2014 gym injury prompted Sorrentino’s battle with prescription medication abuse. Now, he’s been sober for eighteen months after checking into rehab for a second time. “It’s my life, and I have to take care of it,” he said. “If I’m not healthy mentally and physically, I’m not going to make it.” And now, he is trying for a baby with his current girlfriend, Lauren Pesce — and has plans on proposing over the next few months.


Jenni ‘Jwoww’ Farley


TV personality Jenni ‘J-WOWW’ Farley arrives at Spike TV’s 7th Annual Video Game Awards at the Nokia Event Deck at LA Live on December 12, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage)

Farley and Snooki, starred on their own spin-off show, Snooki & Jwoww, for four seasons in 2012 to 2015. Farley also appeared on Marriage Boot Camp and she won season seven of Worst Cooks in America. Farley and her husband Roger Mathews had their first child, Meilani Alexandra in 2014, and son Greyson Valor in 2016.


Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi


NICOLE SNOOKI POLIZZI at The X Factor Season Finale Night 1 in Los Angeles

In addition to Snooki & Jwoww, Polizzi continued her TV presence with appearances on season 17 of Dancing with the Stars and 2017 The New Celebrity Apprentice. Her fifth book, Strong Is the New Sexy: My Kickass Story on Getting My Formula for Fierce was released in 2015. She and husband Jionni LaValle, whom she married in 2014, are parents to Lorenzo Dominic and Giovanna Marie. The couple started their renovation show, Nicole & Jionni’s Shore Flip, in 2016.


Angelina Pivarnick

Pivarnick famously left the Jersey Shore house in three episodes in season one, made another earlier, and a permanent departure in season two. She tried a singing career and rapping in 2010, releasing a single entitled “I’m Hot.” Pivarnick and her then-boyfriend appeared on Couples Therapy in 2012. In 2011, she got in the ring for Spike TV’s Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Now, Pivarnick works as an FDNY EMT.


Paul ‘Pauly D’ Delvecchio


DelVecchio had a one-season Jersey Shore spin-off, The Pauly D Project in 2012, which started his growing DJ career. Since then, he has enjoyed a fair amount of success as a DJ and reportedly generated a multi-million dollar income from his residency at Harrah’s Las Vegas and various other ventures including cologne, tanner and clothing lines. DelVecchio began dating singer Aubrey O’Day in 2016 while they filmed the VH1 reality show Famously Single, and have been dating on-and-off. In 2013, DelVecchio welcomed daughter Amabella Sophia Markert.


Vinny Guadagnino

Guadagnino pursued an acting career following his time in Jersey Shore. He has guest roles on The Hard Times of RJ Berger and 90210. In 2013, he hosted his own MTV talk show, The Show with Vinny. Vinny and his mom, Paola, had a reality travel show called Vinny & Ma Eat America In 2016.


Ronnie Ortiz-Magro

In 2014, Magro and fellow cast member, on-and-off girlfriend Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, had ended their relationship for good. Magro later joined the cast of the upcoming second season of Famously Single, where he met now-ex and Khloé Kardashian’s BFF, Malika Haqq. Magro now resides in Los Angeles.


Deena Cortese

Cortese joined the Jersey Shore cast in the third season. She appeared on Couples Therapy in 2014 and also in several episodes of Snooki & JWoww. In November 2016, she was engaged to boyfriend Chrisopher Buckner during a romantic getaway to Mexico. According to her Instagram, Cortese now works as a dog trainer at The Green Leaf Pet Resort in New Jersey.


Sammi ‘Sweetheart’ Giancola


In 2013, Giancola launched her clothing line Sweetheart Styles. She began cohosting the podcast Just Sayin’ in 2015. In March 2017, a number of Giancola’s former Jersey Shore co-stars came out for her 30th birthday bash in New York City.


Cast Spin-offs


On April 2011, MTV announced it had created two spin-off shows featuring cast members Nicole, Jenny and Pauly, picking up twelve episodes of each show. One show entitled Snooki & JWoww focuses on Nicole and Jenny living together in their own apartment. The Pauly D Project follows Pauly jet-setting around the country for various DJ gigs. The filming of both shows started at the end of 2011 and premiered in 2012.


The Jersey Shore House

1209 Ocean Terrace, Seaside Heights, New Jersey, USA


The Jersey Shore house is the name given to the house used by the MTV show Jersey Shore. The house was located in Seaside Heights and was used during the first season and on the show in four out of the six seasons. Since the cancellation of the show, the house is currently being rented out.

The house was characterized by its unique decor and hot tub. The house was decorated with Scarface posters, and Cadillac symbols and wheels. The house is also home to the duck phone. All of the furniture seen on the show was brought in by MTV, including the hot tub, which they needed a permit from Seaside Heights when filming.

When filming season three onward, the house was equipped with thirty-five remote-controlled cameras in fixed locations and the camera crew consisted of twelve handheld cameras, one IMX Camera, and six DV Cameras.




There are several remakes of the series in other countries. Two are set in the United Kingdom: the well-known Geordie Shore that was set in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and The Valleys, which is filmed and set in Cardiff, Wales. Another remake of the show is Gandía Shore, which was set in Gandía, Spain. Acapulco Shore premiered in September 2014.


Show’s Conclusion


MTV spoke about its decision to conclude its top-rated series Jersey Shore. Nicole (Snooki) was having her baby at the time, the relationships, etc., it felt like it was the right time to bring it to a close and end on a high note.

At that time, the show still dominates, it was the number one show, and was still incredibly successful. It’s really about the lives of the cast evolving and changing in a way that moves them away from the original conceit of the show. As successful as the show is, MTV didn’t want to be in a situation where they’re milking every ratings point out of a franchise until the end. The audience demands reinvention and is always looking for something new. As tempting as it was to squeeze something to the end, MTV made what they think was the right, though it was a tough choice to end the show on top.

It was emotional mainly because it has been such an amazing ride for everyone involved. They were completely plucked out of anonymity and this has changed their lives in ways nobody anticipated. It was a fast and exciting run. There were a lot of emotions that came into play and it was a bit bittersweet for everyone involved.