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Fox Turns D@!# Cautious for Super Bowl

Now it's come to this: You can't say “damn” on TV anymore. Or you'd better not if you're at Fox Television, you're trying to devise a Super Bowl package, and you're skittish about offending the FCC.

The Fox broadcast network is going to air a special one-hour edition of the Fox Sports Network's Best Damn Sports Show Period from Jacksonville, Fla., on the afternoon of the Feb. 6 game in that town. But there's the little problem of the possibly offensive d-word in the show's title. The network's solution? Ladies and gentlemen, Fox presents: Best Darn Super Bowl Roadshow Period. This, after Fox signed up the reliably inoffensive Paul McCartney for its halftime show.

“Heightened sensitivity on all issues,” says Randy Freer, COO of FSN, led the sports net to “voluntarily” make the damn/darn switch in the title of the rowdy guys-being-guys yakfest co-hosted by Tom Arnold.

Given the fact that, after Janet Jackson's Hootergate scandal at the Super Bowl last year, the FCC slapped 20 CBS-owned stations with penalties totaling $550,000, FSN's president Bob Thompson says, “Nobody wants any fines.”

In a related note: There's no truth to the rumor that the NFL will refer to this year's Super Bowl XXXIX, as Super Bowl PG-13IX.

Star Jones: E!'s 2005 Rug Doctor

Star Jones Reynolds acquitted herself so expertly at buttonholing celebrities outside awards shows in recent months that E! Entertainment Television has signed her up to host all of its Live From the Red Carpet productions in 2005. After the cable network was deprived of its red-carpet hosts last summer when the TV Guide Channel plucked away Joan and Melissa Rivers for its own pre-ceremony coverage, Jones Reynolds (it used to be just Jones, but—have you heard?—she got married recently) was recruited to wield the E! microphone at the Emmys in September and at the Golden Globes earlier this month. With the new contract extension, her red-carpet assignments will kick into overdrive next month at awards shows for the Screen Actors Guild (Feb. 5), the Grammys (Feb. 13) and the Oscars (Feb. 27).

“What I like about Star is that she is enthusiastic but calm, dignified and elegant,” says E! Entertainment President and CEO Ted Harbert, who stayed home during the Globes so he could switch back and forth between his network's coverage and the Rivers' debut on the TV Guide Channel. Harbert says Jones Reynolds is especially appealing because the co-host of ABC's The View “knows a lot of these stars and celebrities personally.” His instructions to her going into the Globes coverage, he says, concerned “not talking about her wedding so much, not talking about The View so much.” Must have worked.

'Unfiltered' Creator Takes Aim at NATPE

Fans of the addictive shoot-it-yourself MTV staple of the mid '90s, Unfiltered, rejoice: Producer and MagnifyMedia President Steven Rosenbaum is cruising NATPE in Las Vegas this week pitching a slew of projects based on the Unfiltered idea that, if you give cameras to regular folks and ask them to tell their own stories, the results—with some very professional editing and post-production—can be extraordinary. Unfiltered fans still recall the vivid first-person accounts like those by the wheelchair-bound guy who filmed himself skydiving and the teenage girl who recounted her battle with kleptomania. The latter was a tricky proposition: Should Rosenbaum send a camera to a thief? He did—and got it back. “The pull of being on MTV was stronger than the urge to steal,” says Rosenbaum.

Since Unfiltered left MTV in 1998 after four seasons, he has remained true to the mission of “grassroots storytelling,” working on various Web-based and TV projects, including one for CBS News called The Class of 2000. But now Rosenbaum is fired up to apply the concept to everything from news shows to lifestyle networks. Why? Reality television has only heightened the public's yearning to be on TV, he says. With thousands of people lining up to audition for American Idol, Rosenbaum says, “That's the Zeitgeist we're plugging into. People want to be heard.”

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