A couple of Time-Warner companies are going to great lengths trying appease the FCC, who — running scared from (or worse, in cahoots with) anti-free speech groups like the American Family Association and the Parents Television Council — continue to levy unprecedented and quite possibly unconstitutional fines at the drop of a skirt.
First of all, Time-Warner Cable is bundling a bunch of hopefully non-offensive channels into a “Family Tier,” which they also hope will stave off the call for a la carte programming. No problems here with a “Family Family” tier, though the skeptic in me figures that the tiers are a way to end up charging more for those channels. Also, one of the “family-friendly” channels is the Food Network, which is 100% about stimulating the senses in every way possible. Watch it with the sound down and it’s a whole different experience.
In any event, even without the sexual subtext of the Food Network, I wonder how much that is going to work, because you could have 9,999,999 “decent” channels with 9,999,999,999,999 “decent” shows and all it takes is one lesbian kiss to generate a zillion form e-mails from the Wildmon-led bluenose zombies.
Which is why the WB, in an act of panic-generated self-censorship, deleted a scene of two girls kissing from the upcoming debut of their show, Bedford Falls. This will be the lesbian kiss of death because they are hobbling this show right out of the gate. I mean more so than they would have already been hobbled starting on a network that has only a few months to live anyway.
My guess is, of course, is that any show that has a situation that would have led to two girls kissing is a show that will have other “objectionable” material for them to pounce upon. It seems lose-lose, isn’t it? This is not a war that free-speech advocates can win by giving in to the anti-speech bullies.
Instead, we have to start engaging them, which is why an organization like TV Watch, which advocates a two-tiered approach — fighting the government and parental responsibility — makes so much sense. Otherwise, smart, serious-minded entertainment made specifically for adults could get so marginalized that noone will find it.
- Cable companies offering family tier
- Fear of FCC Action Prompts Cuts in WB Drama
- FCC: CBS Facing $3.6M Fine For Indecency
- TV Watch