Since the moment this whole "Britney's 16-Year-Old Sister Is Pregnant" story came out, we've been waiting with bated breath to see whether Nickelodeon would do a "very special episode" of Zoey 101 about it. ("Man, this chem-free dance party is a total abortion. Oops, sorry, Zoey!") And now it looks like they will! The Nickelodeon brass have confirmed from their offices high over Times Square that they are "in talks with veteran journalist Linda Ellerbee to possibly host the special installment." Ellerbee, you see, is the brains behind Nickelodeon's Nick News segments (including "Caring for the Kids of Katrina," "Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan," and "Rachel/AIDS"). We wondered whether Ellerbee, author of children's books like Girl Reporter Stuck in Jam! and Girl Reporter Snags Crush!, was the right person for the job. After all, how does one host a show warning kids about teen pregnancy that stars a pregnant teen? It's very hard to seem like you're not endorsing it, especially since they're not going to be saying negative things about Jamie Lynn. What a thin line to tread! We weren't sure Ellerbee was up to the task until we looked at her IMDb page. Turns out she's done nearly twenty Lifetime Intimate Portraits, including Calista Flockhart, Pat Benatar, and Cloris Leachman. Oh, yeah, she's got this thing in the bag.
NICKELODEON BIGS EYEING 'LOVE' LESSON FOR FANS [NYP]
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Newsweek CEO Rick Smith only privately announced that he was stepping down yesterday, but Jeff Bercovici already has the memo. And you thought disgruntled ex-Journal reporters were the only things flying into Portfolio's hands! Quoth the missive:
Effective the first of the year, I'll give up most of my many titles and step back into the singular role of Chairman. That transition will allow me to devote more time to a lengthening agenda of corporate and non-profit board work, but also to remain actively engaged at the magazine as well.
From our friends at Viacom comes the latest development in the Tron-itization of today's youth, according to yesterday's Mediaweek: Nicktropolis, Nickelodeon's new so-called Second Life for kids. The new virtual hangout space for tech-savvy rugrats allows kids to do all the stuff the big wired kids do: create avatars, hang out in virtual bedrooms, visit virtual stores, go to virtual amusement parks, and — most important — chat online with virtual friends. Also this:
Besides spending their time exploring, Nicktropolis offers a variety of multimedia options for its intended nine- to 14-year-old audience. They can listen to Nick.com radio stations, play numerous games and watch videos — either in a Rec Room located in Downtown Nicktropolis on virtual TVs they have purchased using points, which serve as the virtual world's currency.
Got that? This is a technological innovation that allows kids to sit in front of a real-world computer screen and use that computer to watch a virtual TV screen. Presumably, the option for avatars to display signs of childhood obesity and ADD will be part of Nicktropolis 2.0.
Nickelodeon Launches Nicktropolis Web Playground [Mediaweek]
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