- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First lady gets Leno to eat his veggies

First lady Michelle Obama cajoled Jay Leno into nibbling on apples, sweet-potato fries and a pizza made with eggplant, green peppers and zucchini on the “Tonight Show” Tuesday, breaking his long-held aversion for all things healthy in his diet.

Mr. Leno once told a magazine he hadn’t eaten a vegetable since 1969, and he insisted he had tasted his last apple in 1984. That didn’t dissuade the first lady, who’s promoting her “Let’s Move!” campaign to get children excited about fitness and healthy eating habits.

Earlier, Mrs. Obama poked at him in a Twitter post, hinting she would “get Jay to eat some veggies” on the NBC show.

He did.

“That does smell very good. I assume this is sausage-pepperoni,” the comedian quipped as he eyed the pizza, made with a whole-wheat crust.

The first lady is on a two-day swing through California, where she’ll promote her initiative while attending two events to help Democrats raise money for the upcoming elections.

She told Mr. Leno she’s not doing anything special to prepare for what’s expected to be a tough re-election campaign for her husband, President Obama.

“You know, there’s really no way to mentally prepare for it. You take each day as it comes,” she said.

Reality TV booming in Louisiana’s swamps

Alligator hunters, raccoon wranglers and crawfish catchers in Louisiana’s critter-filled swamps and bayous are becoming increasingly common on television.

Since the introduction of the History Channel’s wildly popular “Swamp People” in 2010, roughly a dozen other Louisiana-based reality shows have made their television debuts, among them the Travel Channel’s “Girls, Guns and Gators,” CMT’s “Crawfish Cowboys” and the Discovery Channel’s “Ragin’ Cajuns.”

The reason for the recent boom in Louisiana-based reality TV is twofold, said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. Not only do reality shows filmed in the state take advantage of its TV and film tax credit program, but Louisiana has a rich culture that makes for great entertainment.

“There’s no question it’s a combination of the two,” said Mr. Dardenne, who sponsored the original 2002 bill granting tax credits for television and film production in Louisiana.

While some reality shows are far-fetched or have little to do with Louisiana, some are good for the state’s image, Mr. Dardenne said. Shows such as “Swamp People” and “Ragin’ Cajuns” feature aspects of Louisiana life not found in any other state. They also educate people on issues including coastal erosion and conservation, he said.

“It captures this interesting, fascinating, very unique aspect of Louisiana life with its beautiful landscape and a strong streak of adventure,” Mr. Dardenne said. “It’s not something you’re going to find anywhere else. It’s indigenous to Louisiana.”

Hoboken turns down ‘Jersey Shore’ spinoff

The city of Frank Sinatra’s birth has denied a request for a spinoff of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” reality show to film in the city.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said the Film Commission’s decision was based on safety and quality-of-life concerns for residents of the city along the Hudson River, the Associated Press reports.

Hoboken officials say 495 Productions was seeking a 24-hour filming permit to follow two “well-known reality television celebrities” who would live in the city.

It’s not clear who the personalities would be, but the Jersey Journal reported last month that MTV was scouting locations for Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

The company, which has filmed “Jersey Shore” in Seaside Heights, Miami and Italy, can appeal the decision to the Hoboken City Council.

‘Suits’ star takes part in PSAs on intolerance

Patrick J. Adams, star of USA Network’s legal drama “Suits,” said he was teased when he was a teenager for being interested in theater.

“When you’re the guy doing the school plays, that’s not necessarily as cool as some of the other people,” Mr. Adams said in a recent interview. “I got bullied a ton. I got pushed around a lot.”

Things changed for Mr. Adams.

“By the end of high school, the same guy who was beating me up in the ninth grade and causing me so much strife, by the end of high school was the guy who was asking me how to write a play,” he said.

Mr. Adams recently visited a high school in St. Louis and talked with students about their experiences with bullying. The visit was part of USA Network’s Characters Unite program, which is designed to stop intolerance.

The network has named February as its second Characters Unite Month. As part of the campaign, various stars from its prime-time shows, including “Suits” and “Covert Affairs,” have taped public-service announcements and are interacting with the public to start a dialogue about discrimination.

USA will air an original one-hour documentary, “NFL Characters Unite,” profiling pro football players who share their personal stories of overcoming prejudice and discrimination on Feb. 10.

• Compiled from Web and wire service reports.