Nickelodeon executives wouldn’t say Wednesday whether Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old star of Nick teen hit series Zoey 101, would return to the network after news broke that the younger sister of pop star Britney Spears was pregnant.
“We respect Jamie Lynn’s decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn’s well being,” Nickelodeon said in prepared statement released Thursday.
Officials at Nickelodeon didn’t return telephone calls Wednesday afternoon. The season finale episode of Zoey 101 is scheduled to debut Jan. 4. Nickelodeon has already shot the fourth season – which was set to debut in February, but it’s not clear whether the network will go forward with the series as scheduled.
Word that 16-year-old Spears is pregnant is a major public relations challenge for Nickdelodeon. Zoey 101, which debuted in January 2005, is one of the most popular series on the channel. The Dec. 13 telecast of Zoey 101 on Nick pulled a 4.6 rating and 2.4 million households, making 28th most popular TV show on basic cable last week.
Sixteen-year-old Spears stars as Zoey on the program in which her character is one of the first girls at the fictitious Pacific Coast Academy, an all-boys boarding school.
While Nickelodeon executives were mum about the fate of the show Wednesday, sister network MTV covered the news as a major story on its Web site.
“If nothing else, the news just seemed to confuse some young fans, who weren’t sure what to make of the fact that Spears would be a mother before she can legally vote with a boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, whom she reportedly broke up with earlier this year,” reporter Gil Kaufman wrote on MTV.com. ‘I think that she’s too young to be having a child when she’s one herself, but everything happens for a reason,’ wrote Neshia, 20, of Fort Lauderdale,” Kaufman said in his report.
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