Loose standards shock
It's basic, raunchy cable; Parents TV Council finds lots to dislike
By John M. Higgins -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/27/2002 7:00:00 PM
A conservative watchdog group is assailing Comedy Central and MTV for standards on sex and language it says are far looser than anything broadcasters air.
In a study to be released this week, the Parents Television Council found South Park to have the most objectionable content per episode, averaging 126 instances of sex, violence or foul language per half-hour. That's 4.2 per minute, even including commercials. That was followed by MTV's short-lived series Undergrads (73 per episode), Celebrity Deathmatch (66) and The Andy Dick Show (65).
Of the shows the study reviewed (excluding huge basic-cable territory like Discovery, ESPN and Food Network), it found 21.7 objectionable references per hour. A similar 1999 study of broadcast networks found 9.8 per hour.
The study counted 3.61 sexual references per hour in the shows it reviewed; 13.3 uses of foul language per hour (including "hell," "ass," "damn," "crap," "bitch" and anything bleeped out); and 4.7 instances of violence.
(See broadcastingcable.com for the complete study.)
"Ask the question, what is the fixation of Comedy Central and MTV to be as raunchy as they can?" said Brent Bozell, president of PTC and its former parent, the Media Research Council.
"They lump everything together as if there's not an adult channel or children's channel," complained Bill Hilary, Comedy Central executive vice president and general manager.
Of the PTC's 166 counts of "shit," 162 came in a South Park episode specifically parodying Americans' obsession with naughty language. "To take that episode out of context," Hilary said, "shows that they don't get the idea of irony."
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