Don’t invite Brenda Hampton, creator and exec producer of the hit ABC Family series “Secret Life of The American Teenager,” to the same party with officials of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy.
Hampton isn’t happy that ABC Family ends each episode of “Secret Life” with the same public-service message from the org urging parents to communicate with their teenagers about sex.
Disney, which owns ABC Family, decided to tack on the PSA because it was worried about the show’s content: The lead character on “Secret Life” is a 15-year-old (played by Shailene Woodley) who gets pregnant and is trying to figure out what to do. ABC Family has also slapped a TV-14 warning on each episode.
“I understand where the network is coming from,” Hampton says. But the PSA makes it look as if Hampton is collaborating with the group on the scripts, which she says isn’t the case. “I don’t rely on any outside organization,” she says. “I make this stuff up myself.”
Hampton’s main objection: “The PSA sounds like an apology for the fact that we’re dealing with teenage sex. I don’t think we should apologize for that.”
Michael Rosst, a spokesman for the org, says he’s surprised at Hampton’s reaction. “I respect Brenda and her vision,” he says. “The show is pretty realistic, and doesn’t glorify teenage pregnancy.”
“Secret Life” is even kind to the teenager who proclaims that she will not have sex before marriage, Rosst says. “The writers don’t make fun of abstinence,” he says, “which is great for a show that is resonating with both teens and their parents.”