- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004

Kids and obesity

Nickelodeon’s Linda Ellerbee returns to the network this weekend with a timely special addressing childhood obesity.

“Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Look Before You Eat,” airing Sunday at 8:30 p.m., features the veteran newswoman teaming up with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse to teach children healthier ways to eat.

“Kids need more information about the foods they eat in order to make more nutritious choices,” Miss Ellerbee says. “If they learn how to make healthy food choices now, chances are they’ll eat healthily for the rest of their lives.”

A recent Nickelodeon survey found 72 percent of children ages 6 to 14 say they choose their own snacks.

Reality job surge

Reality television must be doing something right if it can make airline work seem like the must-have employment of the moment.

A&E;’s “Airline,” which depicts the day-to-day operations of Southwest Airlines, causes a surge in job applications to the low-fare carrier after it airs, Reuters News Agency reports.

Southwest officials told the news agency that the number of job applicants sending resumes to their offices triples on the days following the cable network’s “Airline” broadcasts.

The Dallas-based carrier typically receives about 180 job applications a day, but that number regularly nears 600 on Tuesdays after Monday night airings of the show.

“Airline” debuted earlier this year and is seen by an audience of about 1 million people, Southwest spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said. The show has not resulted in any more people flying on the carrier, airline officials said.

The show follows Southwest staffers in Chicago and Los Angeles and reveals details of how singing flight attendants and perky gate agents deal with the likes of a man in a kilt who wants to board a plane minus underwear. They also encounter passengers who are asked to pay for two seats because they’re too large to fit between the armrests of one chair.

“Working for an airline is an adventure that is one part glamour and two parts sweat,” Miss Rutherford said.

“Airline” begins its second season July 5 and expands to include travelers using Southwest in Baltimore, along with Chicago and Los Angeles. A&E; plans to carry 26 episodes of the 30-minute reality show, inspired by a similar British program.

One of the Southwest employees featured on the show, Val Brown, who works in Chicago, said she finds it puzzling that people would chose to send in job applications after watching “Airline.”

“I guess for some people, the idea of working in chaos and conflict appeals to them,” she said.

TNT takes a ‘Thief’

FX is adding another original drama to its eclectic lineup, this one starring “Homicide’s” Andre Braugher.

The Emmy winner, most recently seen in TNT’s remake of “Salem’s Lot,” will star in “Thief,” Reuters reports.

“Thief” centers on a criminal (Mr. Braugher) and his robbery crew who, when preparing for their next hit, find themselves chased not only by the law, but also by the Chinese mafia.

Additionally, Mr. Braugher’s character faces a personal crisis when he has to take care of his estranged teenage stepdaughter.

Malik Yoba, formerly of Fox’s ‘90s drama “New York Undercover,” will play a crew member/demolition expert and former Marine, while Will Yun Lee will co-star as a member of the Chinese mafia.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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