Sprout Finds New Good Night Host

Michele Lepe, a 31-year-old bilingual actress from Miami, will replace the popular but controversial Melanie Martinez -- fired after videos with sexually explicit language that she’d acted in appeared on the Internet (www.multichannel.com/article/CA6356376.html) -- as permanent host of The Good Night Show when it “relaunches” Dec. 18 on PBS Kids Sprout.

Lepe -- who was in the cast of miniseries Los Teens on Telemundo and has hosted several radio and TV shows in her career but never a kids’ show -- will act as the new permanent Good Night Guide on a show aimed at helping parents and caregivers wind down the day for their preschool age kids.

Sprout president Sandy Wax said auditions for the new host were held in New York and in Miami, and Lepe’s performance was the one that prompted network programming chief Andrew Beacham to proclaim, “I’ve found her!”

She added that channel officials never wavered in their commitment to the show despite the host controversy. “This is our signature show,” she said. “It’s our signature because it’s distinctive.”

In July, a faux commercial Martinez had acted in before she was cast on The Good Night Show showed up on video-sharing services and on a Web site called Technicalvirgin.com (technicalvirgin.com).

A parody of teenage-behavior public service ads, aimed at adults, Martinez was shown in a schoolgirl outfit, saying she was going to avoid getting pregnant by engaging only in anal sex.

That was deemed unacceptable to a programming network aimed at young children, and Sprout officials fired Martinez.

For more on Sprout’s The Good Night Show, please see Kent Gibbons’ story on page 12 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.