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“Nickelodeon advertises itself as a network that parents can trust, but this effort to promote homosexuality shows that parents should think twice before allowing their children to watch this cable channel,” said the group’s executive director, Andrea Lafferty. “Homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle that leads to infectious diseases, AIDS infection and an early death. This is not a behavior that should be promoted by a children’s network.”
The coalition, an interdenominational public-policy organization comprised of more than 43,000 churches across the
country, launched a petition drive among the 300,000 recipients of its e-mail alerts.
“We are urging our supporters to contact Nickelodeon President Herb Scannell to ask him to cancel this planned
According to Lafferty, the coalition was approached by a story editor with Lucky Duck Productions, producer of the
Nickelodeon news magazine, “Nick News,” to participate in the production of the show. In an e-mail, the story editor, Tara
Keating, described the premise of the Nick News show as being “about gay families and how they are both alike and
different from the more ‘typical family.'”
One segment of the show, according to Keating, will “deal specifically about the
recent controversy regarding anti-discrimination legislation that is being discussed in many states.”
The coalition’s participation in the program being developed was sought, according to Keating, to “help us to cover both sides of this story fairly.” Keating describes, “The show is meant to present various sides of the debate. In addition to hearing from same-sex families and their advocates, we would also like to hear from their opponents. We know that a majority of the population opposes passing laws barring discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, and this side will be an important part of the show.”
“We understand that this is a difficult topic to cover, especially for kids,” Keating added. “‘Nick News’ has a reputation for covering tough issues on a level appropriate for kids between the ages of 10-15.”
When asked about the program, Lucky Duck Productions Executive Producer Mark Lyons told WorldNetDaily, “We’re working on a number of different things but because we’re still just working on it, there’s nothing I can really say about it. I’ll
send a press release when we have one.” Lyons responded to news of the protest saying, “I’m not surprised.”
Nickelodeon would neither confirm the program exists nor say whether it is scheduled to air. Marianne Romano, Nickelodeon’s vice
president of U.S. television told WorldNetDaily, “… at this time no special has been taped, and we do not have any
announcements to make regarding upcoming ‘Nick News’ programming.”
The Nickelodeon network is known for its nighttime reruns of popular old television shows and its lighthearted
daytime children’s programs, including “Rugrats” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” When asked about Nickelodeon’s position on homosexuality and whether the network felt it was an appropriate topic for “Nick News” demographics, Romano told WND the questions were not “relevant to anything happening at the network.”
According to promotional materials, “Nick News” is the children’s television news magazine that takes headline news
stories and produces them in a way that helps kids understand the important issues in the story. The show strives for a “level of discussion appropriate for kids 8-13 years old.” The series has won an Emmy award for outstanding children’s series, as well as both the DuPont and Peabody awards for excellence in journalism.
Lucky Duck Productions, co-founded by veteran and award-winning journalist Linda Ellerbee, has been producing children’s programs for Nickelodeon since 1991. Ellerbee is the host and executive producer of “Nick News.”
In a letter to Nickelodeon’s president, Lafferty expressed concern that Ellerbee “has been a longtime supporter of homosexual causes. In 1996, for example, she participated in the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ‘Fairness Awards’ ceremony to recognize organizations and individuals that promote homosexuality in the media,” wrote Lafferty.
“It’s morally objectionable that Nickelodeon is propagandizing kids about homosexuality, which is what they’re doing,” she told WND. Lafferty further stressed that she only launched the Internet protest after calls and her letter to the cable network went unanswered.
According to promotional materials, Ellerbee’s “Nick News” philosophy is to “encourage kids to think, and to question … to speak up. A noisy citizen is a good citizen. ‘Nick News’ believes it’s the duty of every citizen, no matter what age, to keep her or his mouth open.”
“Nick News” airs on Nickelodeon on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. EST.
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