D-town, IL plans to get skinny? AWESOME

The N and Reveille, the production company behind shows including The Office and Ugly Betty, have begun production in Decatur, Illinois, on the new teen fitness series The N’s Student Body (8×60). Hosted by Laila Ali, the series follows 12 students as they aim for a healthier lifestyle including losing weight and overcoming fears, and learning to maintain that lifestyle. Student Body is executive produced by The N, Reveille’s Mark Koops, Dave Broome of 25/7 Productions and Ben Silverman, founder, Reveille and Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis – Cyn Kids 11/7/07

DECATUR BLOOMIN’ ILLINOIS?!

Oh– let me stop chuckling for a moment. Decatur, home of the Decatur Staleys– opps, I mean… the Chicago Bears (there’s some trivia for ya) is the location of my alma mater, Millikin University.

Decatur- sweet Decatur. Remember that little oopsi-daisy a few years back with Firestone Tires? Yep. Originated in Decatur. Then there was the time Matthew Hale and Jessie Jackson popped up for a weekender in jail due to a racial riot at a local school. And then there was the time I was student teaching and my third grade girl brought scissors to school with the intent to stab another little girl. Awesome. Much of Decatur is unemployed due to Firestone lay offs and the death of small town businesses at the hands of chains. Decatur is the soy capital of the world– with both ADM and Staley headquarters. Once a bona fide blue collar town (much to my imagination like “Pleasantville”) it was hailed as being a place for your family to be raised with the small town safety and security of central Illinois. Even George Carlin (comedian) found it to be one of his favorite places on tour in the 60’s because Decaturites just “got” his humor and thought process.

Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned, it’s not this way now. There are highlights of Decatur– amazing architecture (thank you Mr. Lloyd Wright), but for the most part it’s kinda sketchy and with good measures of crime and low economical stance. It’s the kinda place that I don’t think will EVER change. There will always be a DEB in the mall, and a line to get into Cracker Barrel. Super Walmart will remain “the place to be” and everyone is a good handful over weight.

Having said that– I cannot WAIT to watch this. You have no idea. Decatur would be a fascinating place to study the midwestern diet for youth. What a BRILLIANT location to choose for filming!!!!

About two years ago I got into a car-convo battle with my mother. We had watched “Super Size Me” and talking about how McDonald’s is viewed. My argument was that: There are places in the world (Decatur) where the majority do indeed believe that fast food is healthy food. Low cash funds blur the line between “good eating” and “healthy eating” and “eating at all”. I saw this day in and day out for 4 years as I interned in classrooms and worked with local families (sports, volunteering, and tutoring).

So, The N, I wait with baited breath to watch and comment about this show.

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