Lancaster TV Wants Amish Screener

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Clear Channel Communications Inc.'s WLYH Lancaster, Pa., contacted Pennsylvania House Republican Joe Pitts to say it has told UPN it wants to screen a copy of its Amish in the City reality show for community leaders before it decides whether or not to air it. Pitts wants other stations to follow suit.

Pitts, who has been critical of the show since it was announced last January, asked UPN for a screening copy last week, though he has not received a response from the network, according to a senior staffer.

Pitts took his criticism of the show to the House Floor Tuesday. He also attempted to warn advertisers off the show. "Other affiliates should follow [WLYH's] suit," he told his House colleagues, "and advertisers should think twice before attaching their names to a show that offends and potentially degrades a religious community.

"Make no mistake, this program is offensive and exploitative," he said, "The very act of making this show violates a fundamental Amish religious tenet. And asking Amish youth to participate requires them to break it.

"You see, the Amish believe that television itself violates the 10 Commandments ban on graven images. If you're selling a show based on its participants' religious identity, shouldn't you at least respect the religious beliefs of those participants and their families?"

UPN has said the series, which debuts later this month, is respectful of the Amish tradition.

The show put Amish teenagers exploring the world outside their community together with urban kids and filmed the results. In a ritual called "rumspringa, Amish youth are allowed to leave the community, then make their own decision on whether to return.

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