LATEST: Bosses of Kirstie Alley's new TV comedy FAT ACTRESS have leapt to her defence, after she was slammed for joking about "life-threatening diseases" like bulimia.

Officials at America's NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS ASSOCIATION (NEDA) are furious with the former CHEERS star, who they accuse of trivialising binge-eating disorders during the debut of her new programme, which aired in the US on Monday night (07MAR05).

In one scene, which has outraged NEDA chiefs, co-star Kelly Preston tells Alley's character, who is loosely based on herself, that making herself sick after every meal is one way of losing weight - a practice commonly used by bulimics.

But bosses at cable network Showtime, which airs the show, have praised the actress, calling her inspirational for speaking out about the absurdity of Hollywood's beauty standards and demands.

A statement reads, "The show's emphasis is on battling societal pressures in a humorous and candid way and is in no way intended to encourage dangerous behaviour or to ridicule those who suffer from eating disorders."

10/03/2005 09:24