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Shaq brings weight-loss show to gov's doorstep

Gov. Charlie Crist will pitch-in to help Shaquille O'Neal in his drive against childhood obesity and win some prime time exposure for himself today. The governor has agreed to a two-hour taping for the basketball star's reality TV show on ABC, "Shaq's Big Challenge.''

The six-episode show focuses on O'Neal's quest to help six middle-school kids from Broward County lose weight and change their lifestyles. The show began airing on Tuesday and the governor's appearance is set for the final episode. In the first few minutes of his debut show, O'Neal explains that he is, "going to the Governor's Office butt naked, so that he will talk to me."

By all appearances, the basketball giant didn't have to go that far. By 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, the governor's office already had prepared the governor's large conference room for the cameras. The walls of dark-paneled room had been lined with paintings from Florida's Highwaymen series and television lights were draped in every corner.

By 4 p.m., the gov was out on the plaza with the svelte-looking middle schoolers and Shaq:   


The show may force Crist to answer some tough questions, though. O'Neal's team of experts questions the quality of food served in the school system; asking, "isn't this the same food that they serve in prison".  The experts also say schools should all offer mandatory physical education classes -- going beyond the governor's push for PE classes in elementary schools.