Nickelodeon — the home of Jamie Lynn Spears’ hit “Zoey 101″ series — is considering airing a special for its young viewers that would focus on issues of sex and love, according to network spokesperson Dan Martenson. The news follows on the heels of the 16-year-old’s announcement Tuesday night that she is pregnant.
While there has been no official announcement regarding the future of “Zoey 101,” which caters to children ages 9 to 14, Nickelodeon is said to be in talks with journalist Linda Ellerbee to host the special program. In the past, Ellerbee has hosted similar shows about same-sex parents, AIDS, the Columbine shooting and President Clinton’s impeachment.
“I think it’s important that something be done,” she told the AP. “But I think it’s important that it be done in a measured way, and not just to feed the beast of news stories.”
According to Martenson, discussions are ongoing, but no decision has been made about the special yet. He further shot down online rumors that, instead of a news special, the network would be producing a reality series around the pregnancy. So far, the network has not commented on Spears’ pregnancy, beyond issuing a statement of support for her.
Martenson said that Nickelodeon has received a mixed response from its viewers regarding Spears’ pregnancy, and that word of her impending motherhood has forced parents to tackle the issue with their young ones — which can be a challenge.
“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 told the AP. She added that the special would include a broad discussion about how people know they’re in love, the right time to have sex and the value systems of their parents and friends. There’s no word yet on when the special might run, Martenson said.
“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,” Ellerbee said.
Nickelodeon is owned by Viacom, MTV’s parent company.
(Head here for fans’ and celebrities’ reactions to Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy , and for an update on Lynne Spears’ parenting book .)
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