Before going national, Penacoli served as a newscaster and talk show host in several markets starting in Jacksonville, Florida, then WTVJ in Miami, where Jerry served as host of PM Magazine in the early 1980s, and then Philadelphia. He was an evening news anchor for the Philadelphia TV station KYW-TV (an NBC affiliate at the time) from the mid-1980s until he moved to New York City in 1990. He later relocated to Hollywood in 1992.
Penacoli worked on the tabloid show Hard Copy from 1996 to 1999. He also served as the first male host of Lifetime's "Attitudes" with Linda Dano. Prior to Warner Brothers, his broadcasting career included stints at E! Entertainment television, where he hosted the entertainment network's live coverage of premieres and events, and Paramount Television. He also co-hosted Richard Simmons' Dream Maker with Richard Simmons and Kat Carney in Fall 1999. As of February 4, 2013 he's been co-host on the syndicated morning television program "Daytime" out of Tampa, Florida, which is seen in more than 130 U.S. markets.
His credits include several daytime soaps as principal characters and guest-starring roles on numerous sitcoms and dramas as well as film roles, including Woman on Top with Penélope Cruz and Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver.
Penacoli was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the Marlton section of Evesham Township, New Jersey. He attended grade school at St. Joan of Arc grade school in Marlton and high school at Holy Cross High School in Delran Township, New Jersey. Penacoli resides in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and is an artist in his spare time. In 2011, Penacoli revealed on Extra that he was diagnosed with stage three melanoma, resulting in surgery and protracted hospitalization. He was also diagnosed with early-stage thyroid cancer at that time. Penacoli later announced to viewers that he had been declared cancer-free. In 2016, Jerry successfully underwent open heart surgery.
- Jerry Penacoli: Correspondent, Extra. Accessed November 19, 2008.
- Staff. "Tv/Radio Talk - Ch. 10 Won't Stint In Covering The Mummers", The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 31, 1982. Accessed November 19, 2008. Jerry went on to the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut where he studied Journalism and Communications and graduated Summa cum Laude in 1978 http://extratv.warnerbros.com/about/penacoli.php Retrieved on December 29, 2011]. "A native of Scranton who grew up in Marlton, NJ, Penacoli came to Channel 3 just two weeks ago from WTVJ-TV in Miami."
- - WFLA TV - Jerry Returns to Daytime