LOS ANGELES (AP) – Television host Pat O’Brien, anchor of “The Insider” news magazine show, has entered an alcohol rehabilitation program, he said in a written statement Sunday to The Associated Press.

“I have had a problem with alcohol. I have decided to take action by checking myself into an intensive recovery program,” the 57-year-old broadcast journalist said.

“Overcoming this problem is a top priority in my life and I am excited to return to work as soon as I am able,” he continued.

There were no details about the recovery facility or when O’Brien entered the program.

O’Brien, who covered the Summer Olympics in Greece for MSNBC and NBC late-night programming, was a TV news reporter in Los Angeles and Chicago before joining CBS Sports.

He occasionally hosted “Entertainment Tonight” and in 1997 became the full-time host of “Access Hollywood.” That contract expired last year and he began hosting “The Insider.”

“We support Pat’s decision to seek treatment and look forward to welcoming him back on the air at the appropriate time,” said Manfred Westphal, a spokesman for Paramount Domestic Television, which syndicates “The Insider.”

Westphal said the show’s New York host, Lara Spencer, will take over during O’Brien’s absence.

Green slime may be scarce

LOS ANGELES (AP) – With top stars including Frankie Muniz, Lil Romeo and Hilary Duff lined up to present this year’s Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, there could be a serious shortage of green slime at the April 2 show.

It has become a tradition that one or more celebrities are surprised during the program by being doused with green slime, the trademark booby-prize of Nickelodeon’s audience-participation shows. Last year, the Olsen twins got the honor.

Other Hollywood A-listers who have signed up as program presenters include Chris Rock, Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell and Amber Tamblyn.

“I think I’m going to be bringing a change of clothes,” said the show’s host, Ben Stiller.

Rapper Will Smith and the punk-pop quintet Simple Plan are among the musicians scheduled to perform during the show, which will be broadcast live from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on the Nickelodeon cable television network.

Even the entertainers won’t necessarily be safe from the slime. One year, Pink was doused as she performed the show’s opening song.

On the Net:

Nickelodeon: http://www.nick.com

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Former POW Jessica Lynch plans to pursue her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher.

The 21-year-old Army supply clerk, whose wounding and rescue made her one of the Iraq war’s most famous soldiers, said Friday that she plans to start online courses at West Virginia University this fall.

Former Gov. Bob Wise had promised Lynch the state would finance her education at any West Virginia public college or university.

Lynch is busy traveling and making several speeches a month about her experience as a POW. On Friday, she posed for photographs during a women’s luncheon in Morgantown.

In 2003, her 507th Army Maintenance Company convoy took a wrong turn in the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah and was attacked. Eleven American soldiers were killed and six, including Lynch, were captured.

She suffered two spinal fractures, nerve damage and a shattered arm, foot and leg when her Humvee crashed.

AP-ES-03-20-05 1552EST

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