Friday, May 5, 2000 (Vol. 4; No. 26)

PTC E-Alerts deliver weekly "nuggets" of entertainment industry news and information intended to help viewers make better entertainment decisions. Warning! At times, the Alerts contain dialogue and scenarios exactly as they occur on television, in films or interviews. Our aim is to accurately depict entertainment content, not offend readers.

1. Foul Family Guy

2. UPN Scrapes the Barrel's Bottom

3. Manchester Prep Returns

4. CBS to Team With Family Friendly Programming Forum

5. He's Got it Wrong?

6. WWF: Cultural Sewage


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1. Foul Family Guy

Last fall, Fox put its animated series Family Guy on hiatus for an indefinite period because of strong advertiser resistance and low ratings. In the two months since the show returned, creator Seth MacFarlane has aggressively sought to push the content envelope. Worse, Fox has permitted him to do so. Although Family Guy airs during the family hour, when children are likely to be watching, recent episodes have included animated nudity, vulgar references to genitalia, and references to pornography and masturbation. Consider these two examples from recent episodes:

The family is eating at a seafood restaurant. The mother, Lois, says to her teen-aged daughter, "Meg, honey, it's very cold in here. Maybe you'd be more comfortable with your bib on."
The father, Peter, says, "She means your nipples are sticking out."
Meg crosses her arms in front of her and her brother says, "Ha, ha, ha, ha. Nipples, nipples."

Lois intrudes on Meg's slumber party. She says, "I love slumber parties! Okay, truth or dare. Who here has gone all the way?"
Lois is the only one to raise her hand. 
Lois says to the girls, "You know, at my sleep-overs, we used to practice French kissing. Now everybody pair up."
Meg's brother Chris, who is hiding behind the sofa, says, "All right, mom!"
Meg says, "Chris, get out of here right now."
Chris says, "Um, I can't."
Lois says to Chris, "Okay, finish up and then come out."

If you want to make sure Family Guy is gone for good, contact Fox today. 

Fox Entertainment Group
Mr. Sandy Grushow
10201 W. Pico Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 369-1000

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2. UPN Scrapes the Barrel's Bottom

UPN is finished with its latest series, The Beat, canceling the extremely foul-mouthed program after just six episodes. The Beat joins UPN's other raunchy shows that failed this season, Shasta and Secret Agent Man. Despite the liberal amounts of sex, partial nudity, foul language, and violence featured in each of the series, they failed to grab the attention of the network's coveted young male demographic. Undaunted, UPN is looking to secure rights to Family Guy, should Fox opt to drop the show after this season. UPN is also looking to pick up a Fox series that never aired. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network is expected to acquire Gary and Mike, a claymation comedy based on two teenagers on a cross-country road trip.

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3. Manchester Prep Returns

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the executive producers of Manchester Prep, another Fox series that never aired, have edited the episodes into a feature-length straight-to-video film, tentatively titled Cruel Intentions II. Manchester Prep never made it to the fall schedule because of viewer outrage over a raunchy clip that was shown on Entertainment Tonight (see August 18, 1999 E-Alert). PTC Advisory Board member John Carvelli also appeared on ET to denounce the offensive clip. The film is being billed as a prequel to last year's theatrical offering Cruel Intentions.

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4. CBS to Team With Family Friendly Programming Forum

Broadcasting & Cable reports that CBS will become the second network to work with the Family Friendly Programming Forum in an effort to further the cause of wholesome prime time fare. The collaboration, to take place during the next TV season, covers two projects. In September, CBS will air the awards ceremony in which the Forum honors family-friendly shows. 

Last year, the Forum, a group of major advertisers concerned about the limited options for family viewing in prime time, agreed to finance some family-friendly series pilots for the WB. As reported in the April 10 E-Alert, three such pilots are in development. 

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5. He's Got It Wrong?

Last fall, when the PTC persuaded many corporations to stop advertising on WWF Smackdown!, we received plenty of angry messages from WWF fans - messages like "Leave the WWF alone, or prepare to get your asses kicked" and "Keep it up and you will die!!!!!!!"

Like the PTC, TV Guide columnist Phil Mushnick believes that, in his words, "the violence and obscene language and sexual acts [in today's professional wrestling] help desensitize its many young viewers." 

Well, now Mushnick has some idea how we felt. In the April 29 TV Guide, he wrote that his views on pro wrestling have elicited "hundreds of dissenting letters from readers ages 8 to 18. Most are loaded with fanatically hateful and wildly profane words...while insisting that I've got it all wrong."

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6. WWF: Cultural Sewage

"There was a time when I was a wrestling fan in small doses...I thought it was funny...What it has become now is cultural sewage. It's belligerent, it's mean-spirited, it's anti-woman, it revels in the worst possible racial stereotypes, and it is vulgar in the extreme. And there is nothing puritanical about saying that. There is a difference between a double entendre or a clever aside or something that pushes the envelope a little bit...and the garbage the WWF represents. I don't want my kids watching it."
-- Sportscaster Bob Costas in an April 29 CNBC interview with Tim Russert.

 

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