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"Queens of Daytime"

From the press release:

Actress Jen Ponton (Dietland, 30 Rock) and Emmy-winner Louise Shaffer (Ryan’s Hope, Search For Tomorrow) have teamed up to pen Queens of Daytime, a newly-released short film that serves as showcase for their proposed television series.

Queens of Daytime takes place in 1958, in the shiny-new world of television. While men like Milton Berle and Sid Caesar dominated primetime programming, live soap operas filled the airwaves during the daytime. Soaps were then owned and operated by detergent companies, who hired their own writers, directors and producers. As detergent companies worked to increase their profit margins, they saved money by hiring women to write and produce their shows. This created a little-known professional oasis for women at a time when keeping house was the rule.

This story is meaningful for soap veteran Shaffer, who worked in the industry as these women-led shows began to highlight complicated issues like reproductive rights, divorce, civil rights, and the AIDS epidemic. Soaps were the first medium to address these taboo tobics, and female producers like Agnes Nixon (All My Children, One Life To Live) routinely broke ground decades before primetime would catch up.

With the clamor for more women’s stories during a year when The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel swept the Emmys, Shaffer and Ponton are excited to see what the world holds for their heroines. Queens of Daytime stars Ponton as ‘Addy,’ the newly-minted producer of an overwrought soap opera called “Tomorrow is Forever.” When she discovers the provocative work of a radical civil rights activist playwright, she has her heart set on hiring Laurel Kessler (Ali Marsh, In Plain Sight) as her new head writer. In doing so, the structure of the show is turned on its head, confronting difficult racial dynamics and addressing the dangers inherent in the burgeoning civil rights movement.

Shaffer and Ponton say that the true message of their show is “the mirage of white feminism,” a term that decries feminist theories focused solely on the struggles of white women, without addressing the myriad of oppressions that face women of color and/or women lacking other social privilege. The show is a unique celebration of how much has changed since 1958--and a rallying cry of how far we have yet to go.

Queens of Daytime also stars Eddie Korbich (Broadway), Andrea Cirie (House of Cards), Chantal Jean-Pierre (Law & Order: SVU), and Peter Rini (Orange is the New Black). The short was directed by Lily Hayes Kaufman, produced by Ponton, Jackie Schwartz and Marzy Hart, and created in association with Troma Entertainment and Besties Make Movies.

Dietland on Hulu

After a summer as a critical darling, I have good news for the streaming masses—Dietland is now bingeable on Hulu! (If you’re really lucky and have a commercial-free subscription—like me—the action is uninterrupted and marvelous.)

In the meantime, I’m repping some more radical feminist work as one of the stars of BECKYS THROUGH HISTORY, which is seeing its NYC premiere next week, and hitting larger audiences soon.

I’m also back in the producer’s seat with some exciting proprietary projects—and though my to-do list is neverending, it’s also enormously delightful and fulfilling.

Hope you love Dietland—please share it with everyone you know! It’s never been so needed.


Are You Watching?

Jen Ponton Dietland.jpg

This'll be short and sweet--DIETLAND is out and it's changing the world, y'all. I've been live-tweeting episodes, so check out my Twitter feed if that's your speed. Episodes can be found on AMC.com, Amazon Prime, and oodles of other resources because TV these days is magical!

You can take a peek at my episodes thus far in the reels tab, too! 


Cat's Outta the Bag!

I'm so very excited and happy to announce what I've been working on for months--AMC's upcoming series DIETLAND, based on the best-selling novel by the amazing Sarai Walker. Led by the badass EP Marti Noxon, DIETLAND is part revenge-fantasy, part cautionary tale--how are women reconciling their identity and normative behaviors in the revolutionary time of #MeToo and #TimesUp? Find out starting June 4th on AMC!

Check out a teaser here!

Now on Prime!

Great news! (No, not the dangling carrot--sorry. Soon!)

LOVE ON THE RUN has just been upgraded to Amazon Prime Video--meaning that you can watch it for F-R-E-E as a Prime customer (knew that free 2-day shipping would come in handy!). 

Check it out! It's my starring debut in a feature film, and it's charming, quirky, sweet, and really well-done. I'm so happy to have been part of it.


All the NDAs

I've been a busy bee this year, making something so cool and wonderful and I can't wait for this puppy to be released to the masses! Unfortunately, I can share exactly...none of it with you yet. But soon. Very soon.

Get ready. 


Back in the Studio

Jen and host Dmitri Lazarev talk all things LOVE ON THE RUN--plus the importance of SPF, abandoned Blockbusters, and last meals (hint: it's ALWAYS Italian).

Jen and host Dmitri Lazarev talk all things LOVE ON THE RUN--plus the importance of SPF, abandoned Blockbusters, and last meals (hint: it's ALWAYS Italian).

After a spring ripe with exciting developments (and matching NDAs--apologies), the second half of my summer has been full of family, a DIY kitchen reno (I'm as surprised as anyone else), a lot of writing, and returning to the studio for some podcasts. This time, I get to jam with one of my best friends--we go way back, and we have a blast. Check out Toasted!

Back to Tribeca

Great news--my film CHUCK (from IFC Films, starring Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Elisabeth Moss & Jim Gaffigan, directed by Philippe Falardeau) will be making its New York debut at Tribeca Film Festival! 

You know I can't resist a Jersey underdog, and Chuck Wepner is the perfect example as the Bayonne Bleeder--the inspiration behind Rocky. My pal Morgan Spector has a killer appearance as a '70s Sly Stallone, and Jim Gaffigan is brilliant comic gold (duh) in a wasteland of drugs, hookers, and dashed dreams.

For tickets and more info, visit us on Tribeca's website.


'Going In Style' - A Jersey-Fresh Tomato

Very excited to announce that my next film, GOING IN STYLE, will be in theaters in just a few weeks!

NBD. Just hangin' with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin & Zach Braff.

NBD. Just hangin' with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin & Zach Braff.

But before we do, we're going to be part of a very select group of films to be featured here--New Jersey, the great home state of both myself and Zach Braff--at the Arthouse Film Festival. Curator Chuck Rose hand-picks some choice films before their release and includes them in a Garden State revue, including talkbacks and Q&As with filmmakers and actors. So come join us! Non-NJers, never fear--we're premiering April 7th. Get readyyyyy!


Back from LA

Just returned from magical La-La-Land (man, I used to use that all the time--and now I'm pretty sure I can't for a solid 10 years), after doing something SUPER-FUN and top secret that will be revealed very, very soon! For now, having a jumpin' pilot season, and enjoying the snowscape out here with the dog. I've also been doing a ton of writing--very exciting, and more on that to come, for sure. 

Also, my Mortified performance just 'aired' on the Mortified Podcast--check it out! 


Jen Gets Mortified

This Thursday, I get to take part in something I've been obsessed with for a couple of years--MORTIFIED.

For those not familiar with it, Mortified is a multi-platform storytelling entity (live shows, podcasts, a documentary and a short-lived television series) that uses real, well, mortifying texts crafted by people when they were young. This is most often adolescent diaries and journals, but for some, it's poetry, songs, and fiction that they wrote. 

I'm working on getting my diaries curated, but in the meantime, I was a very lonely kid when I was in (what amounts to) middle school--so to cope with that, I started writing friend fiction. (No, it wasn't erotic a la Tina Belcher...but it was just as full of desperate fantasy). 

Come see me shake and read some of my childhood writings at Mortified NYC, at Littlefield in Brooklyn--Thursday, Sept. 8th. :)


Love on the Run: Now Available!

Hello my dears!

LOVE ON THE RUN, my first starring role in a feature, is now available on VOD and Digital. I star opposite Frances Fisher, Steve Howey and Annaleigh Ashford in this body-positive, romcom road adventure. And it is wonderful.

Check it out on these platforms! AmazoniTunesGooglePlayVuduHooplaDirecTV and Dish Network!

Love on the Run: 3 Days!

Here's another blast from the past! The first days on set for LOVE ON THE RUN...

"I'm writing LIVE on my one day off for the entire shoot! FRANNY began filming yesterday in scenic upstate New York, where it's been gorgeous and sunny and full of vibrant autumn colors!

I hopped in the car with our producer and production coordinator to get to set for an EARLY start on Monday! The whole crew came to the headquarters on Sunday night, and we threw a celebratory BBQ in the freezing cold with a giant bonfire going. It's like camp for adults! XD

I moseyed on over to hair and make-up at the crack of dawn to get tanned, glowy and bouffanted. Our H/MU team--Yiselle and Morgan--are so friendly and super-lovely, and we'd gotten to know each other at the bonfire. I was then suited up into full bizarre Franny apparel. Franny really marches to the beat of her own drum. So a glittery lily-pad shirt paired with a tropical gypsy skirt and hot pink Keds? MARVELOUS. After I was all dressed and ready to go, I hopped in the car with our 2nd AD, Niki (who I adore), and swallowed a quick cup of coffee and an egg sandwich. I was catapulted into the first scene shot--which was me in my car, Sweet Yellow (a yellow 1965 Mustang). This poor car! It's SO broken-down and falling apart--so much so that the floor under the passenger seat has disintegrated. We moved to a scene that required that poor car to move--which meant it was going in neutral, and the Art dept. was pushing in the back. ;) 

Sweet Yellow after a rigorous push up the hill.

Sweet Yellow after a rigorous push up the hill.

We also shot a scene in a drive-through, and I moved to a SECOND car full of character--one being billed as a green Pinto! I got to order food from an apathetic fast food server, played by our director. :) So fun! We then moved to this gorgeous boutique for a shopping scene, where I worked with my first principal actor, Alicia Sable as the sales girl. I had Tuesday off, but visited the set of Franny's employ, a dog grooming salon. I met Frances Fisher, who plays my mother (SHE IS THE BEST), and I can't wait to work with her! I'm actually on set right this moment as I type, in a quick break while they film a shot that I'm not in. :) I get to play with dogs all day, and my bosses are Broadway actresses Mary Testa and Ruth Gottschall! Sooooo fun. Best job to date, hands down. :) "

Love on the Run: 4 days!

It's my pleasure to bring back some relics from the past from when we were in production on LOVE ON THE RUN!

LOVE ON THE RUN is a romantic road comedy, starring myself and Frances Fisher, Steve Howey and Annaleigh Ashford. It's directed by Ash Christian (Petunia, Mangus!, Hurricane Bianca) and distributed by TriCoast Worldwide. And we release ALMOST RIGHT NOW.

So here's your first blast from the past as you prepare to meet Franny:

"If the idea that 'every actor has their breakout role' is true, then here is mine:

I've just booked the starring, title role in the new indie feature film FRANNY. XD

(me, later, on-set as Franny)

It was a long process--the role is so perfect for me, and I auditioned for it, like, a month ago! There were weeks of hearing nothing, and then out of the BLUE, my manager called me last week telling me that I'd been called back to read with the casting directors and the director, Ash Christian.

*(Small world: Ash and I were actually both cast in King Kelly! We had no scenes together and had never met, but we ended up being Facebook buds before I even realized he was directing!)

I had my callback with the PalmStar gents and Ash, and we just had the BEST time. It felt so right, and I felt like it just HAD to be what was next for me.

Lo and behold, my manager--who has the best way of leaving cryptic voicemails when I've booked something ("You're in big trouble. Call me back.")--put on his best aloof voice as he asked me when I'd be going to LA.

"Well, I'm NOT, if I'm Franny!"
"Well then, I guess you're not going to LA, kiddo!"

And it's true--I will likely NOT be fulfilling that trip, since we're shooting for 3-5 weeks starting in November! I'll miss my friends, but clearly, booking something like this was the whole reason I intended on going in the first place. ;)

I am so, so SO VERY EXCITED. As we go into production, I will do my best to supply pictures and news and even video!


I would be utterly remiss if I didn't mention the GIANT FLOODS OF SUPPORT AND LOVE AND POSITIVITY that my friends and family and peers and colleagues (and acquaintances, even!) have unleashed upon me! I swam against the current of others' faith for so long, and I'm finally at a point where all my people are better cheerleaders than I could have even hoped for! You can't have any idea how much it means to me, or how wonderful it feels when you express your belief, support, love and congratulations to me. It means EVERYTHING!

MUCH love right back to all of you! <3 <3 <3

Jen's back on NBC this Fall!

Keep your eyes peeled for my latest work with NBC...premiering on one of their hottest shows late this September!

In the meantime, you can catch up with me on Netflix and Hulu on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black, and Deadbeat!