A conservative group based in Washington is slamming Nickelodeon over an upcoming "Nick News" special on gay parenting featuring Rosie O'Donnell and the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
"Nick News Special Edition: My Family Is Different" is scheduled to air on June 18 in primetime, with host Linda Ellerbee exploring "issues related to diversity, tolerance and respect, particularly to kids of same-sex parented families."
The network said Falwell is one of several voices on the program expressing disapproval of gay parenting.
The day after the special was taped, the Traditional Values Coalition posted a message on its Web site (traditionalvalues.org) condemning the program as "pro-homosexual propaganda." TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty said close to 250,000 parents have signed petitions through Conservative Petitions and the American Family Association to protest the show.
"Nickelodeon may have backpedaled on the content of this show because of the widespread publicity we've given it," said Lafferty, "but we're still not convinced that Nickelodeon's leadership can be trusted."
Lafferty said that by running the special, Nickelodeon forfeits its standing as "a family-friendly place" that parents can trust.
"This upcoming show proves that this network has been co-opted by homosexual activists who are targeting children," she said. "Sodomy is not a family value. Nickelodeon has now lost the trust of parents over this decision."
Ellerbee told the Los Angeles Times the Traditional Values Coalition declined an invitation to participate in the discussion.
She also denied a TVC claim that O'Donnell attacked Christians during the taping. She read from a transcript quoting O'Donnell as saying: "I am telling you there are Christians who don't believe homosexuality is wrong."
Lafferty's press release acknowledged that she had not seen the show, but was basing her critique on inside sources.
"I really wish they would just watch the show before they make up their minds," Ellerbee said.
Nickelodeon is television's most popular network among children. It is owned by Viacom, which is developing a channel devoted to gay and lesbian viewers.
J. LO AND JUDD IN SPLITSVILLE
"Access Hollywood" reported that the couple has actually been separated "for some time." The TV show also reported that there is no third party involved, despite a report by a New York newspaper gossip column that Lopez has resumed her relationship with former boyfriend Sean (Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy) Combs.
The show reported that the Judd-Lopez separation is amicable and they are still friends.
JUST IN TIME FOR FATHER'S DAY
Don Johnson ("Nash Bridges") is a father for the fourth time, after his wife Kelley gave birth Thursday to an 8 pound, 12 ounce son -- Jasper Breckenridge Johnson.
The 52-year-old actor and his current wife also have a 2-year-old daughter, Atherton Grace. Johnson has a son, Jesse, with actress Patti D'Arbanville ("Celebrity," "The Guiding Light") and a daughter, Dakota, with his former wife Melanie Griffith "working Girl," "Cecil B. Demented").
Mark Derwin ("One Life to Live," "The Guiding Light") has joined the cast of the new ABC-TV comedy "Life With Bonnie," starring Bonnie Hunt ("Jumanji," "Jerry Maguire").
Derwin -- who will play the husband of Hunt's character -- replaces Brian Kerwin ("Beggars and Choosers," "The Young and the Restless") in the cast. He has worked with Hunt before, on the actress' mid-'90s CBS comedy, "The Bonnie Hunt Show."
The second season of "The Osbournes" on MTV may take viewers where they have not been before -- into Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne's private chamber.
MTV president Van Toffler told Newsweek producers are considering a number of ways to differentiate the second season from the first -- which became MTV's biggest hit and elevated Osbourne and his family to a new level of celebrity. One idea is to rig up Ozzy and his wife-manager Sharon's master bedroom with video and audio equipment.
Toffler said Sharon Osbourne -- who doubles as Ozzy's manager -- is involved in the negotiations on what the second season will look like. He said the Sharon that viewers see on TV is pretty much the same as the Sharon who shows up at the negotiating table.
"What you see on television, that's the way Sharon is," he said. "She is affectionate and loving one moment, and the next she's calling you every name under the sun."