NBC president Bob Wright sent a letter to executives at other television networks and studios asking for their reactions to the hit HBO series The Sopranos, an NBC spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
The The New York Times first reported on Wright's letter in its online edition Wednesday. In a copy of the letter obtained by Broadcasting & Cable, Wright notes that while The Sopranos has won a Peabody Award, the show couldn't make NBC air "because of the violence, language and nudity." The letter suggests the frustration among network broadcasters that FCC rules prevent broadcasters from showing the sex and violence pay cable channels can air. And observers wonder whether NBC is testing the waters for its own edgy Mob drama or gauging support to challenge existing FCC decency strictures.
Wright specifically asked other broadcast executives how they think The Sopranos "impacts mainstream entertainment and NBC in particular," and included his e-mail address for replies. Wright's intent was to simply to elicit comment on the popular HBO Mafia drama series and did not imply a criticism of the show's content. - Richard Tedesco