Ricki Lake Tackles Troubling Topic: Teen Pregnancy; Ricki Teams Up With the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Special Public Service Announcement to Debut During Episode


     'Ricki's' Alliance With Project Cuddle Results in the Rescue Of
                           77 Abandoned Babies

NEW YORK, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing effort to address tough teen topics, The Ricki Lake Show deals with the critical issue of Teen Pregnancy in the United States on the show airing Friday, November 24. Statistics show that four in 10 teenage girls become pregnant, at least once, by the age of 20. The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy of any western industrialized country. These staggering facts are why The Ricki Lake Show has made it a priority to educate their viewers -- teens and parents.

On Friday, Ricki welcomes several young, pregnant women to her show, providing them with a forum to unload the heavy emotional burden that they have been carrying by themselves. With Ricki by their side, terrified teens face their fears and tell their families that they have been hiding their pregnancies.

"Teen pregnancy affects nearly one million girls -- and their partners and families -- each year, regardless of race or social stature," explained Ricki Lake. She continued, "Newborns are abandoned every day because their parents, who are just kids themselves, don't know where to turn. My producers and I always look for opportunities to help educate our viewers about the issues that they deal with in their everyday lives. We are proud to partner with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Project Cuddle, two highly regarded organizations, in our efforts to convey an important message to young women who may not know that there is help. Together, we're letting our viewers know that there are alternatives that work and that they do have options."

One guest credits "Ricki" for saving her baby's life; she called the Project Cuddle hotline after seeing the program's founder on "Ricki." The Ricki Lake Show continues to work closely with Project Cuddle, the baby rescue program that provides 24-hour-a-day support for women contemplating abandoning their babies. Teens have made national headlines by abandoning their newborn infants, leaving them to die in dumpsters or in the bathroom at their high school prom. Confronting this part of the teen pregnancy problem, Project Cuddle has rescued 280 babies from abandonment, and 77 of those babies were as a result of viewers finding the Project Cuddle crisis number (1-88-TO CUDDLE) on The Ricki Lake Show.

"As a woman and a mother, I recognize the epidemic proportion of this heartbreaking issue," commented Executive Producer Gail Steinberg. She continued, "As the Executive Producer of the number-one talk show among young women, I realize my responsibility to provide good information that will enable our viewers to get the attention and help they need and deserve. The Ricki Lake Show is the perfect vehicle for disseminating such an important message. With the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Project Cuddle on board, we feel that we're providing the best one-two informative punch in daytime talk."

"Ricki" also joins forces with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a non-profit organization, to relay their message to her viewers, who are largely comprised of young women between the ages of 12 and 34. Together, "Ricki" and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy work to educate teens and parents, encourage more abstinence, and remind teenagers across the country to use contraception each and every time they engage in sexual activity. Ricki recently produced several Public Service Announcements for the Campaign, to help them meet their goal of reducing the teen pregnancy rate by one-third by the year 2005. The first of those PSAs can be seen during "Ricki's" November 24 episode. Information about teen pregnancy, and other important teen issues, is available on line, at http://www.ricki.com/ and http://www.teenpregnancy.org/.

The founder of Project Cuddle, Debbe Magnusen expressed her enjoyment about participating in the show saying, "We're thrilled that we've had the good fortune to be a part of 'Ricki's' group effort to address such a significant issue. We've worked with 'Ricki' in the past and thanks to her show, we've been able to let young women know that help is just a phone call away. We commend 'Ricki' for enabling these girls to come forward and serve as examples to others who may be at a frightening crossroad in their lives."

"Ricki Lake is an important ally in our effort to prevent teen pregnancy," added Marisa Nightingale, Director, Media Programs, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. "By bringing this issue to the attention of her viewers, Ricki is helping millions of young people understand the urgency of this problem and helping to give them the information they need to make smart and informed decisions."

"Ricki Lake" is produced by the Garth Ancier Company in association with Columbia TriStar Television Distribution. Gail Steinberg is the Executive Producer and co-creator with Garth Ancier who also serves as executive consultant.

Columbia TriStar Television Distribution is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a division of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television production and distribution, worldwide channel investments, home video acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development of new entertainment products, services and technologies, and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web (http://www.spe.sony.com/).

SOURCE: Columbia TriStar Television Distribution

Contact: Beth Jaffe of The Ricki Lake Show, 212-352-3322 x232; or Chris
Albert of Columbia TriStar Television Distribution, 310-244-6467

Website: http://www.spe.sony.com/

Website: http://www.teenpregnancy.org/

Website: http://www.ricki.com/