FX President and General Manager John Landgraf was quick to defend FX network programming Tuesday after clips from two of the network's award-winning shows were aired in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on TV Violence and its impact on kids.
“Today, during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on television violence, a video was presented which included brief clips from two FX shows, The Shield and Rescue Me," Landgraf said in a statement.
"These shows were made for adult audiences to air after 10 p.m. [they were aired at 10:30 a.m. at the hearing, which aired on C-SPAN3]. We rate them TV-MA (which means they are for mature audiences 17 and over), and we include a full screen advisory with voice over at the start of each episode and a large on screen advisory after each commercial break."
"We respectfully submit that adults 17 and over should have access to these shows, which are among the most critically acclaimed in television."
Landgraf pointed out that gritty drama, The Shield, for example, "has won Peabody, Emmy, and Golden Globe awards and been selected by the American Film institute as one of the ten best television programs of the year...These shows have large audiences who appreciate the morally complex, difficult adult themes they address.” He also pointed to Rescue Me's award-winning credentials.
FX didn't get much help from the industry's own paid consultant, attorney Lawrence Tribe, who during the hearing agreed with one Senator that an oral sex scene from The Shield was probably obscene, which would make it illegal. FX had no comment on Tribe's comment, but the noted First Amendment attorney had warned he was speaking from the heart and might say something the industry did not agree with.