By CARYN ROUSSEAU
CHICAGO (AP) â¿¿ Jenny McCarthy may have made a home in the Chicago suburbs, but the 40-year-old mom of a 10-year-old son hasn't lost her goofy, party girl-persona.
The former Playboy playmate and TV host says Hugh Hefner's 1970s-era "Playboy After Dark" is the inspiration her new weekly VH1 talk show, "The Jenny McCarthy Show," which debuts Friday night. She'll commute to New York to film the show from her home outside her native Chicago.
"In a perfect world the dream is to be as close as possible to my little boy so I can be the mom I want to be and to be the person on TV I want to be," McCarthy said in an interview this week with The Associated Press while she was preparing for her new weekly show.
After years of unproductive development deals McCarthy finally finds herself with her much-desired talk show. But she also finds herself a single mom concerned about her son.
McCarthy was outspoken about autism treatments after her son was diagnosed and wrote a book detailing her search for a cure. She has advocated special diets, supplements, metal detox and delayed vaccines as treatments. She says her son no longer suffers from autism.
But now she says she's focused on her foundation, Generation Rescue, and making sure efforts go toward treatment for families that can't afford it.
"That's all I've been promoting," she said. "I haven't talked about vaccines in four years and don't plan to. I've made enough noise and now I feel like the attention needs to go toward treatment."
McCarthy decided to move back to Chicago last May after realizing her son's life in Los Angeles wouldn't be the same as her childhood, she said.
"There was no catching lightning bugs in the backyard," McCarthy said. "Within five days I made the decision to pack up and get out of there."