Archive for Friday, December 21, 2007

Nickelodeon considering teen pregnancy special in wake of news

December 21, 2007


— Nickelodeon is considering a special for its young audience about sex and love following the news that 16-year-old "Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant.

The television network has made no announcement about the future of "Zoey 101," its popular program aimed primarily at youngsters aged 9-14. Filming for the show's fourth and final season has finished, and episodes are scheduled to begin airing in February.

For the special, Nickelodeon said it's talking with Linda Ellerbee, the veteran newswoman who has stepped in frequently in the past with shows on talking to children about difficult issues in the news. She's done shows about same-sex parents, AIDS, the Columbine shooting and President Clinton's impeachment scandal.

"I think it's important that something be done," Ellerbee told The Associated Press on Thursday. "But I think it's important that it be done in a measured way, and not just to feed the beast of news stories."

A Nickelodeon spokesman, Dan Martinsen, confirmed the discussions but said no decision had been made.

Spears, the younger sister of pop star Britney Spears, told the OK! celebrity magazine this week that she was pregnant. The father is her 19-year-old boyfriend, Casey Aldridge. She said she plans to raise the baby in her home state of Louisiana.

Nickelodeon has made no comment beyond a supportive statement for its star: "We respect Jamie Lynn's decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn's well being."

The company has received a mixed response so far from its viewers, and the news has launched a public discussion about how parents should deal with it.

"This is a great opportunity for parents at this moment to talk to their kids about this - more important, to listen to their kids about this," Ellerbee said.

Rather than focus strictly on Spears, Ellerbee said she's considering producing a broad discussion about how people know they're in love, when is the right time to have sex and what are the value systems of their parents and friends. It could air as soon as next month.

"Right now what Nick is trying to do - and what I am trying to do - is figure out what is the best thing to do for kids," she said.


max1 6 years, 4 months ago

US Fertility Rate Hits 35-Year High, Stabilizing Population "If you accept the reality of that headline up above, then this is excellent news: That for the first time in decades, the U.S. fertility rate has crept above the point needed to ensure a stable population." - Patrick McIlheran, right-wing pundit for the Journal Sentinel The number of births to teenage girls in the United States helped to push total births to a 40-year high, reaching nearly 42 births per 1,000, the CDC report said. Researchers calculated about 435,000 births to girls between 15 and 19. "That finding surprised us because we had a 14-year steady decline in the teen birth rate. Even though the pace of the decline had slowed in the past couple of years, it was still declining, and this year's finding took us off guard," said Stephanie Ventura, head of the Reproductive Statistics Branch at CDC. The preliminary birth data report also said unmarried childbearing reached a record high in 2006. The number of births to single mothers jumped nearly 8 percent, from 1.52 million in 2005 to 1.64 million in 2006. The birthrate attributed to non-married couples rose 7 percent from 47.5 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15 to 44, to 50.6 per 1,000 women. The percentage of births outside marriage also rose, from 36.9 percent to 38.5 percent.

Mary-Jane Wagle, president of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles believes that the increase is due to the failure of abstinence-only education programs, which make teens less aware of contraceptive options.

Researchers also discovered that the U.S. fertility rate was about 2.1 births per woman of childbearing age over her lifetime. It is the first time since the early 1970s that the rate was above the replacement level, at which a given generation can replace itself, the CDC said.


its_getting_warmer 6 years, 4 months ago

Ellerbee: "But I think it's important that it be done in a measured way, and not just to feed the beast of news stories."

Yea, right.


DirtyLinen 6 years, 4 months ago

Confrontation (Anonymous) says:

" The schools need to step up and provide adequate sex ed (none of this abstinence-only junk), since the parents can't handle it themselves."

So you're touting this as a triumph for condom programs? Somehow I doubt the semi-celebrity Ms. Spears junior got preggo because of a lack of sex ed. Although I agree she wasn't exactly the recipient of excellent parenting.


redwaggoner 6 years, 4 months ago

Gee! What a surprise! Brittany getting too much of the public's attention so baby sis got PG to capture the spotlight!!!!


Confrontation 6 years, 4 months ago

I think it's interesting that so many parents are freaking out about Jamie and what they're supposed to tell their kids. That's the problem with today's parents. Too many aren't mature enough to provide sex ed to their kids. This is especially true for the Conservatives. The schools need to step up and provide adequate sex ed (none of this abstinence-only junk), since the parents can't handle it themselves.


coolmarv 6 years, 4 months ago

I do applaud miss Spears for still being pregnant and deciding to give life. How proud the Spears parents must be that their little darlings have made so many good decisions. What were the parents doing while these girls were growing up? Thanks for the link sf97.


jonas 6 years, 4 months ago

It could be a good idea to do an episode, but it seems that doing a special tied up in the Spears news would fix it as a celebrity problem, disassociating it in the minds of its viewers from themselves. We shouldn't need a celebrity incident to see a need to show this sort of thing, it should have already been there.


curious2 6 years, 4 months ago

I think this would be a great idea since this is such sensitive issue. I am not condoning this situation but let's face it we are in a different day and age when things our children experience are happening sooner. I was a teen parent and faced many hardships and realize what this means for my daughter and the possibility that she too is more likely to be a teen parent. It is unfortunate (the reality of the situation and enoumous responsiblilty it puts on a child) but in hindsight agree that education about this topic is key for our daughters!


sunflower97 6 years, 4 months ago

The Lawrence Douglas County Health Department offers a course called "Kids Need to Know". You can read about the course online at Classes meet for two hours once a week for five weeks. All courses begin with a "Parents Only" night during which curriculum and materials are discussed and any questions are answered. Following Parents' Night, the courses continue with weekly parent-child sessions for four more weeks. One parent accompanies the child to each class, which is approximately two hours in length. This course provides a great service to the community and is not publicized enough.


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