On This Day: ‘The George Jones Show’ Premieres in 1998

by Clayton Edwards

Television used to be better. Don’t get me wrong, modern advances in entertainment are great. Who doesn’t love being able to binge-watch shows and find just about any movie ever made? We live in a great time for consuming media. As far as the technology and variety of programming, it’s only getting better. The quality of programming used to be better, though. Imagine being able to tune in and see George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, and Janie Fricke sitting on couches, talking, and sharing songs. Well, in 1998 you could see that on “The George Jones Show” on TNN.

“The George Jones Show” was a series of hour-long television specials that featured Jones and a variety of guests. He brought on some of the biggest names in country music from the nineties as well as classic performers like Jennings. The show was a combination of candid conversations and live performances from Possum and his guests. In short, it was a country fan’s dream show.

Surprisingly, it’s hard to find anything about “The George Jones Show” online. There are a few mentions here and there. The IMDb page is incomplete. It’s almost like the show never existed. Luckily, if you look hard enough, you can find full episodes of it floating around YouTube. After watching a couple of episodes, you can get the gist of the program, though. It was all about keeping real country music alive and introducing it to a new audience. At the same time, it allowed Jones to catch up with some old friends.

“The George Jones Show” Featuring Janie Fricke, Waylon Jennings, and Bobby Bare

If you’re only going to watch one episode of “The George Jones Show,” it should be this one. Watching these old friends get together and shoot the breeze is great. The live performances are just the cherry on top.

During this episode of the show, George Jones kicks off the evening with a performance of “Why Baby Why.” Then, it goes to a comfortable looking seating area with Jones and his guests. Waylon, Janie, and Bobby all have their guitars close at hand in case they are compelled to share a song during the conversation. Bobby Bare does that early in the show. He gives and impromptu performance of “She’d Rather Be Homeless.”

During their conversation, Waylon tells a shortened version of the story about George Jones punching him in the face while drunk. Later in the show, George Jones and his guests talk about politics in Nashville in the late nineties. They poke fun at the concept of image consultants and how record labels try to dictate every step of an artist’s life.

They also talk about country radio. That conversation goes to show that some things never change. At one point, Bobby Bare says something to the effect of “The radio plays country music for folks who don’t like country music.” That is as true today as it was in 1998.

“The George Jones Show” only ran for a short period of time. However, the episodes of the show are full of great performances and even better conversations between some of the biggest names in country music. Do yourself a favor and check out the video above. Then, go dig for more. This is one television show that shouldn’t be forgotten.