You can imagine Jane Hambleton was pissed when she found booze under the front seat of her son Steven's car, and grounding did not seem like enough of a punishment. "I'll show that little bugger who's boss," she said to herself. And she put an ad in the local paper, the Iowa Register:
OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.
Well! She thought she would get a response but didn't think it would be from all the way in New York! First, Good Morning America flew the family out to appear on the show. Then Jane got a call from Today — apparently they were so charmed by the Hambletons, they were going to break their hard and fast don't–touch–it–if–it's–been–breathed–on–by–Diane Sawyer rule. But then Oprah called, and she wanted exclusivity. Then Ellen called, and she wanted exclusivity. Everyone wanted a piece of the Hambletons! What would they do? They threw up their hands. "These people are crazy!" they said to themselves. "Let's go back to Iowa to figure it out. Things are simpler there."