'Ricki Lake' Keeps a Finger on the Pulse of Today's Youth Talking to Teens About Pregnancy, Violence and Sex

'Ricki' Gets Up Close and Personal During February


Throughout February, "Ricki Lake" zeroes in on the hot-button issues that make today's teens tick. "Ricki" takes an in-depth look at teen pregnancy, teen violence, and teen prostitution, probing, questioning and examining the factors that motivate today's youth. During each episode, "Ricki" features "a-day-in-the-life" video packages, detailing the circumstances that provided the impetus for the guests to take part in the show. The combination of video packages and in-studio appearances render an authentic depiction of each guest's unique, compelling story. Together, the guests and "Ricki" begin the search for answers and alternatives.

"More and more, we're realizing the force of our impact on the individuals who tune in to our show," commented Ricki Lake. "We're focusing on issues that affect our audience, encouraging them to take the necessary steps to make positive changes in their lives. Sometimes, just the knowledge that you are not alone in your struggle is incentive enough to begin the healing process and get yourself on the road to recovery."

Continuing its efforts to raise awareness about teen pregnancy, an issue that has grown by epidemic proportion across the nation, "Ricki Lake" reaches out to teens that are on a self-proclaimed mission to have a baby. Statistics show that more than 40% of American girls become pregnant at least once before the age of twenty; that is close to one million teen pregnancies each year. Several teenage girls, ages fourteen and fifteen, longing to be teenage moms, receive a rude-awakening after "Ricki" sends them out to experience first-hand, the process of becoming a mother. The want-to-be moms spend a day as an expectant mother, from dawn to dusk, strapping on an "empathy belly," a medical device that simulates all aspects of pregnancy. The next step -- childbirth -- when the teens witness a pregnant woman go through labor and delivery. "Ricki" also gives the girls a lesson in being responsible for an infant, courtesy of "Baby-Think-It-Over," a computerized doll that mimics the behavior of a newborn child. The doll comes outfitted with a microchip that detects and reports neglect and abuse. After their outing, the teens return to the studio to share their future plans with "Ricki."

"Recognizing the comprehensive scope of 'Ricki's' reach, we are continuing to provide informative, educational topics for our viewers," explained Executive Producer Gail Steinberg. "To have a host like Ricki, whose influential voice has been instrumental in our efforts to speak to today's youth, is invaluable. We've seen incredible results and have helped several organizations, that have participated in our issue-oriented episodes, achieve some of the milestones for which they were striving. We're committed to maintaining our standard of excellence when it comes to socially responsible topics."

Shifting gears, from teens wanting to bring life into this world to teens who are fighting for their lives, "Ricki" delivers a very intimate hour of one-on-one sit-down interviews with young death row inmates, convicted for murders they committed when they were just teenagers. Statistics show that the number of children committing violent crimes is on the rise since the mid-90s, resulting in 24 states passing legislation that permits the execution of juvenile offenders; currently, there are 74 of them on death row, awaiting their executions. Ricki goes inside the Pitosi State Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison in Missouri, to talk to two of those "statistics," young men who have allegedly committed crimes as teenagers, for which they have been sentenced to death. During their interviews, convicted murderers Chris Simmons and Antonio Richardson talk to Ricki about the murders, life on death row and what it's like waiting to die. Both inmates, products of broken homes filled with abuse, drugs and alcohol, share their innermost hopes and fears with Ricki. Viewers will also hear from the families of the teens, who talk about what life has been like since their loved ones were sentenced to death.

In another stunning episode focusing on troubled teens, "Ricki" brings the harsh reality of the streets into sharp focus with a riveting exploration of teen prostitution. Young women and men, who have slipped through the cracks of their carefree teen years, explain why they sell their bodies for money. Whether it's a way to support a drug habit, experience a "high" from the chase or a lack of self-respect, all of the teens express the same sentiment -- they don't know any other way and don't have any support system to help them turn their lives around. In an attempt to dispel the myth, the sense of being indestructible, that goes hand-in-hand with youth, "Ricki" incorporates a precautionary tale in the form of a former teen prostitute who is dealing with the consequences of her actions -- becoming infected with AIDS. Chock full of gripping video images. Shot in each teen's hometown, the hour-long look into the lives of these streetwalkers uncovers their underlying incentive to make quick cash at, what could be, the expense of their lives.

"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/).

For further information please contact: media, Beth Jaffe of The Ricki Lake Show, 212-352-3322, ext. 232; or Chris Albert of Columbia TriStar Television Distribution, 310-244-6467.

SOURCE: Columbia TriStar Television Distribution

Contact: media, Beth Jaffe of The Ricki Lake Show, 212-352-3322, ext.
232; or Chris Albert of Columbia TriStar Television Distribution,

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