NEW YORK -- Nickelodeon is going ahead with a children's special about same-sex parents, despite receiving so many e-mails that the network had to create a separate address to avoid a computer crash.
The half-hour report, produced by Linda Ellerbee and featuring Rosie O'Donnell, includes comments from the Rev. Jerry Falwell -- who later joined conservative activists in urging Nickelodeon not to air it.
The network received 100,000 e-mails and phone calls to protest the program, set to air at 8 p.m. CDT Tuesday.
The Washington-based Traditional Values Coalition has spearheaded the campaign against "Nick News Special Edition: My Family is Different," sight unseen.
"It is a cover for promoting homosexuality for kids," said Andrea Lafferty, the coalition's executive director.
Nickelodeon said that's not so. Ellerbee, in the show's introduction, says, "The following program is about tolerance ... It is not about sex. It does not tell you what to think."
Ellerbee, who won a Peabody Award for a Nickelodeon special that delicately dissected the Monica Lewinsky scandal for children, said she conceived of this show upon reading that the word "fag" had become the most common schoolyard epithet.
O'Donnell's public acknowledgment that she is a lesbian put the subject in the news, Ellerbee said. The former talk-show host has adopted three children.
The program is largely a discussion. Although it also features a gay school principal and a gay New York City firefighter who is a father of three, children are the focus.
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