FCC Drops Indecency Charges Against 2 Shows

One wonders if the timing of this case had anything to do with the election?

FCC Drops Indecency Charges Against 2 Shows Federal regulators dropped indecency charges against two TV shows, handing a major victory to networks.

Regulators backtracked and dropped indecency charges against two television shows, handing a major victory to networks that had gone to court over worries of higher fines and more-aggressive interpretations of indecency rules.

The Federal Communications Commission said it no longer considers an obscenity used during a live interview on CBS's “The Early Show” to be indecent. The agency also dropped charges against episodes of ABC's now-defunct “NYPD Blue,” on procedural grounds.

Although the use of an expletive during a news show was close to the line, it didn't go over it, the FCC said. The reversal was an “exercise in caution,” FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a prepared statement. “Hollywood continues to argue they should be able to say the F-word on television whenever they want. Today, the commission again disagrees.”

Network executives complain that Mr. Martin's FCC has grown increasingly intolerant of questionable radio and television broadcast programming and, more important, has imposed higher fines. They point to the record $3.6 million fine proposed in March against CBS for an episode of “Without a Trace,” for a sex scene involving teenagers. Network executives contend they had little choice but to fight the FCC's actions, given the enforcement climate and Congress's decision this summer to increase indecency fines to as much as $325,000 per violation.

The FCC dropped charges against several “NYPD Blue” episodes because the complaints were filed against a station in Kansas City, Mo., by the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group based in Alexandria, Va. Because no complaints were received from actual viewers in the station's market, the FCC reversed its decision and dismissed the complaints. That's notable because the council is behind many of the complaints filed at the FCC, and public records show that complaints against various stations sometimes come from people living in other cities or states. The council didn't have an immediate response to the FCC's action.

Eric Idle did put it best....

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on November 8, 2006 4:23 PM.

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