Daniel On/Off/On In Amarillo


NBC's Book of Daniel took a trip around Amarillo this week before winding up on a low-power station there.

Nexstar's NBC affiliate KAMR Amarillo, Texas, has told NBC it won't be running the rest of controversial drama, The Book of Daniel, but most Amarillo viewers will still get to see the show.

According to Jim O'Malley, station manager at Mission's Fox affiliate KCIT, Mission has picked up the show in the market, but it won't air on KCIT, either.

Here's the scoop, according to O'Malley.

Nexstar has a shared services agreement with Mission's KCIT, which essentially means they are under the same roof, he said. So, when KAMR decided not to run the show, GM Mark McKay told NBC to call O'Malley to see if he would offer them a better time period. McKay had offered to run the show on a delayed basis at 12:30 a.m. Central time, after Conan. NBC declined, says O'Malley, so McKay sent them to him.

O'Malley offered 11 p.m. Central time--Fox doesn't have late-night programming--but NBC declined that, too.

O'Malley's fallback was Mission's low-power station, KCPN, which is carried by Cox Cable to about two-thirds of the Amarillo market. He offered to air it in pattern (the same time it is airing on the network) and NBC agreed.

Like numerous stations, KAMR had received e-mails from members of the American Family Association (AFA) complaining about the show before it had even aired. Unlike a half-dozen other stations that refused to air the first episode, including a couple of Nexstar outlets, KAMR decided to air the first episode, asking the viewers to reserve judgment until they had watched the drama.

Following that airing last Friday (Jan. 6), KAMR got over 500 e-mails in response to the airing, with about 60% of those saying not to air it again. "I felt like the 60% ruled," says McKay, "and we notified NBC earlier this week that we would not be airing the remaining episodes." At press time, O'Malley was preparing to e-mail that 40%, letting them know where they could find the show.

AFA, which has recently become more active in rallying members to protest TV content, asked members to e-mail stations and the network to protest the show, which AFA felt mocked Christianity and had inappropriate storylines including a drug-selling daughter, a sexually active son, a gay son, and various plot lines including affairs by Bishops,prescription drug abuse by an Episcopal priest, and a Catholic priest with mob ties.

NBC has defended the show, which opened to mixed reviews, saying: "We're confident that, once audiences view this quality drama themselves, they'll appreciate this thought-provoking examination of one American family."