Over the weekend, Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney's 16-year-old sister and the star of Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101," stepped out in public for the first time since last month's announcement that she's pregnant with the child of longtime boyfriend Casey Aldridge.
According to People magazine, Spears was spotted in Hammond, Louisiana, on Friday, wearing a pink Ole Miss sweatshirt and carrying a GED textbook. Spears was pictured outside a building that houses both the Tangipahoa Parish School System Adult Education Center — a preparation site for the high school equivalency exam — and the Title I Parent Center, which helps parents teach their children reading skills.
It's not immediately known what prompted Spears' visit. She'd previously attended the Parklane Academy, a prestigious learning institution in McComb, Mississippi, off and on for a number of years. She also studied with tutors while taping "Zoey 101" in Los Angeles.
People reports that Spears enrolled at Parklane as a full-time student just days before Thanksgiving, having finished the filming of the current season of "Zoey 101." After Thanksgiving, the magazine claims that Spears returned to Los Angeles, where she was needed (the report doesn't specify for what). According to People, Spears' pregnancy would have gotten her expelled from the school.
The magazine is further reporting that, two weeks before making her controversial announcement, Spears was seen picking up several maternity items: a pregnancy calendar, a sonogram frame and the best-selling tome "What to Expect When You're Expecting."
Meanwhile, Friday night also saw the hour-long season finale of "Zoey 101," in which Spears' character's parents come for an unexpected visit to Pacific Coast Academy and tell Zoey they'll be moving to England. The program, which ends in a cliffhanger, generated strong ratings, despite the controversy surrounding Spears' pregnancy.
According to Nielsen Media Research figures, Friday night's episode averaged more than 7.2 million total viewers — double the show's normal viewership. The ratings surged a whopping 104 percent compared to those generated by the show's previous four episodes. Viewership among males ages 25 to 34 increased 290 percent and rose 152 percent among females within the same age bracket. Among female teens, viewership was up 87 percent, while it increased 79 percent among male teens.
On Thursday, "Zoey 101" spokesperson Dan Martinsen told MTV News that Nickelodeon plans to air the show's fourth and final season beginning in February.