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The TV Column: 'Coal,' and Michelle Obama on 'Oprah'

MSHA officials did not specify whether the number of violations at Cobalt was unusual, AP reported.

"We welcome the inspections because our hearts are truly pure, and we want to run a safe and clean operation," Crowder said.

On Jan. 5, Crowder told TV critics: "Obviously, we were concerned about the safety. We spent as much time on the preliminary work to get the precautionary measures in place, and make sure everybody was going to be safe as much, as they have been in filming - as much time as been filming up till now."

A Spike TV spokeswoman said Thursday that the MSHA reported that it issued more than 100,000 violations against the country's 2,000 coal mines in 2009.

"We had no accidents and no incidents while we were there," the Spike TV spokeswoman told the TV Column.

Beers's calling card is producing popular reality series about people engaged in dangerous occupations. His resume includes "Deadliest Catch," "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax Men."

First lady on 'Oprah'

Days after President Obama announced new government-wide initiatives to support military families - including programs aimed at preventing homelessness among veterans and suicide - first lady Michelle Obama took the message to the Reigning Queen of Daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey, who dedicated an entire day of her syndicated talk show to the subject.

"We're going to ask the country to get ourselves together and be a part of reconnecting these families to the broader community," Michelle Obama told Oprah and her millions of followers, including a studio audience that leapt to its feet (some began hugging one another) when the first lady came on stage.

"All right - calm yourselves," Oprah told her audience.

"How many of you watching can name a soldier who's fighting in the war?" Oprah asked her followers at the top of Thursday's show, which was taped days earlier. "I can honestly say I cannot."

"A few months back, Tom Brokaw called me up with a show idea. . . . He was very blunt, as matter of fact," Oprah continued.

Brokaw told her that "if you don't know someone who's fighting on the front lines right now, or a family in town that has one of their own serving, then you don't care about the war of the men and women fighting it," she continued.

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