- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Nick sounds alarm

Child-friendly Nickelodeon is starting a new public-service campaign aimed at curtailing alcohol use among its young demographic.

“Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix,” a new multimedia program, is aimed at middle schoolers ages 9 through 12.

Co-produced by Nickelodeon and the Century Council, the new campaign encourages parents and their children to seek more information about the damaging effects alcohol can have on young lives.

The network says new research shows children typically use alcohol for the first time near the age of 12.

The campaign includes public-service announcements on Nickelodeon as well as Web sites such as www.ask listenlearnparents.com, where parents and children can get more information on the subject.

Reality rumble

Vince McMahon wants you — if you’re male and can lift another man over your head while wearing tights.

Mr. McMahon, the World Wrestling Entertainment chairman, is retooling his long-running “Tough Enough” reality show and leaving the ladies in the lurch.

For three seasons, Mr. McMahon’s WWE granted wrestling contracts to both men and women through the MTV competition. Unlike earlier shows, however, this season’s version features an all-male format and a $1 million WWE contract, Associated Press reports.

The show no longer will air on MTV and instead will be telecast as part of UPN’s “Smackdown” beginning in October.

Each week, viewers will vote “American Idol”-style for the contestant they want to see win the mega-bucks contract.

Casting for “athletic, physically fit, talented and charismatic men” has begun.

Prospective body slammers are encouraged to download an application at tough enough.wwe.com and also submit a 60-second video.

The WWE encourages amateur wrestlers from — as the company says — “all walks of life.”

Animated Stern

After hearing that Howard Stern suffered a constant stream of abuse as a high school student, many people may simply grin, chalking it up to a dose of karma.

Spike TV decided to do something different. The network tapped the shock jock to develop a cartoon based on those early experiences.

The network for men is creating “Howard Stern: The High School Years” as a prime-time animated series, Reuters News Agency reports.

The cable channel has ordered 13 episodes of the show, slated to debut in the summer of 2005, a network spokesman said.

Mr. Stern is serving as executive producer of the series, based on his teenage years on New York’s Long Island. It hasn’t been determined whether he will lend his voice to his own character, the spokesman added.

Spike TV is seeking to rebuild a stable of adult-oriented cartoons after two other animated series featuring high-profile talent were dropped from the schedule — “Gary the Rat,” with Kelsey Grammer, and “Stripperella,” voiced by Pamela Anderson.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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