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Nickelodeon Says “Let’s Just Play”

Like tobacco companies scolding against underage smoking and alcohol makers counseling “responsible drinking,” there is cognitive dissonance in hearing Nickelodeon telling kids to turn off their TVs and go out to play: “You must watch us to find out how to not watch us.” But there you have it.

Nickelodeon will celebrate its third “Let’s Just Play Worldwide Day of Play” by going off the air for three hours (noon-3 pm ET/PT) on Saturday, Oct. 1, to encourage kids to spend the afternoon being active. “Let’s Just Play” is Nickelodeon’s “pro-social commitment” to encourage kids to participate in “active, healthy, and playful lifestyles” through daily on-air messages and activities, a welcome action against the rise in childhood obesity, reduction of PE in schools and in after-school programs, and the over-scheduled and sedentary lifestyles of many of today’s children.

TEENick stars including Jamie Lynn Spears, Emma Roberts, Romeo, Drake Bell and Josh Peck will join this year’s “Worldwide Day of Play” celebration by hosting interstitial segments after the network returns on-air. They will announce several winners of the “Let’s Just Play Giveaway,” which offers kids around the country the opportunity to take action and enter for a chance to win $5,000 to improve their school or community programs’ fitness resources. Nick will distribute a total of more than $1 million from September 2005 to June 2006 via the “Giveaway.” Kids can enter for a chance to win at nick.com, everythingnick.com, or by filling out and sending in the application in the October issue of Nickelodeon Magazine.

The TEENick stars will also introduce mini-documentaries showcasing recipients of the 2004 “Let’s Just Play” Grants Program, including James Martin Middle School in Charlotte, NC; Prosperity Heights Elementary School in St. Paul, MN; The Arthritis Foundation in Philadelphia, PA; Nome Elementary School in Nome, AL; and Grimes Elementary School in Burlington, IA.

In addition to the more than 500 schools and organizations that have already committed to holding “Worldwide Day of Play” events in their communities, Nickelodeon’s “Let’s Just Play” partners Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Association for Sport & Physical Education, National Parent Teacher Associations, and the WNBA are also helping to spread the word and plan events.

“Let’s Just Play” was recently awarded four Cable Television Public Affairs Association Beacon Awards, which recognize excellence in the public affairs industry.

The Oct. 1 schedule is as follows (all times ET/PT):

* From 12-3 p.m., Nickelodeon will pre-empt regularly scheduled programming by going dark to remind kids to be active and engage in physical play, airing only a “Let’s Just Play Worldwide Day of Play” logo.

* From 3-8 p.m., Nickelodeon will broadcast interstitials hosted by TEENick talent including Jamie Lynn Spears (Zoey 101), Emma Roberts (Unfabulous), Romeo (Romeo!), Drake Bell and Josh Peck (Drake and Josh), and Devon Werkheiser (Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide), among others, offering the stars’ favorite ways to play, and mini-documentaries showcasing recipients of the 2004 “Let’s Just Play” Grants Program. These interstitials will air in between The Fairly OddParents marathon (from 3-6 p.m.) and a SpongeBob SquarePants marathon (from 6-8 p.m.).

* At 8 p.m., the on-air “Let’s Just Play Worldwide Day of Play” celebration continues with the season premieres of TEENick shows Drake and Josh, All That and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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