Broadcasters To FCC: Now That Our Audience Is Gone, Can We Swear More?

from the last-ditch-shot-at-a-pyrrhic-victory dept

Broadcasters are understandably sick of the fellas at the freaking FCC. It's 2013, but shows on the public airwaves are still forced to follow a weird pastiche of morality rules seemingly cobbled together from the standards of multiple different generations and interest groups. Not only are these rules extremely questionable in a country with free speech, they are plainly obsolete: everyone has easy access to the whole perverted rainbow of obscenity, and enforcing a moral standard of media is clearly a matter of personal and family responsibility. Public TV networks no longer have the influence on culture that they used to, given competition from cable, online media, and other things over which the FCC has no control — and, surprisingly enough, the broadcasters themselves are now making that very argument:

ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC also say that rules are archaic because the networks have lost so much cultural clout. Fox says in an FCC filing, “Americans today, including children, spend more time engaged with non-broadcast channels delivered by cable and satellite television, the Internet, video games and other media than they do with broadcast media.” In a separate filing, NBCUniversal observes that ”Broadcast TV is not a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of 21st Century Americans.” Broadcast network affiliates’ total day share of viewing “was just 28 percent in the 2010-2011 television season – compared to the 53 percent viewing share held by ad-supported cable programming networks.” CBS also notes that “the day when a child watching television was almost certain to be watching broadcast television has long since passed.”

Looks like someone at the TV networks realized what year it is too. We may need to update the NBC business model:

Of course, what goes unmentioned is the fact that escaping FCC regulations is clearly part of a plan to regain relevance. Which is entirely fair. There are a bunch of reasons for the decline of network television, primarily technological, but the fact that so many top-level stars, producers and showrunners are flocking to the less-restrictive world of cable and the internet certainly can't be helping. Look at a huge network hit like Seinfeld: after that success, and with a virtual carte-blanche to experiment, of course Larry David would make his next show for a cable network like HBO. And as Julia Louis-Dreyfus once remarked in an episode of said show, "I want to be able to say fuck," so it's hardly a surprise that a show like Veep ends up on HBO too. Plus Veep's creator, Armando Iannucci, hails from the UK with its early watershed hour, at which point broadcast shows can do pretty much whatever they like — it's hard to imagine him wanting to work within the confines of FCC regulations either. That's a whole bunch of talent creating successful, critically-acclaimed shows — and not creating them for NBC, the network that spawned the breakout hit that got the ball rolling in the first place.

Let's hope the FCC listens. The networks have a whole lot of work to do if they want to regain real relevance, and they haven't always been good at it, but I have no desire to see them further hindered by obsolete morality rules pushed by the busybodies at the Parents Television Council (who, it will surprise nobody to learn, vociferously oppose these filings). Let's give NBC a chance to make the next Eastbound & Down or Lucky Louie. Let's let ABC scrap Dancing With The Stars in favor of Katherine Ryan's more innovative The Voice competitor, The Ass. And let's let PTC president Tim Winter squirm in the home theater throne from which he judges all that is wrong on the air, as the epidemic of pixellated nudity becomes an explosion of Game of Thrones-style sexposition. The broadcasters have enough problems already.



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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 7:32am

    What's the difference between a sitcom today and a sitcom from the 70s?

    Absolutely nothing, and it sure isn't the fault of the FCC.

    You see, there's someone who makes "executive" decisions on what consumers will see. They go through pilot after pilot, picking and choosing what they feel people will watch.

    Once the show is given the green light, scripts are written and must be pre-approved.

    If the script steps out of bounds against Hollywood's decades-long "formula of success", the script is rejected.

    Don't take my word for it. Talk to any screenwriter.

    Now the networks are trying to blame the FCC for the reason why people are leaving for shows which don't have this restriction?

    No surprise will be seen on this face.

    Here's a tip ABC, CBS, NBC, and especially Fox: quit cloning shows and drop the decades-old "formula".

    We don't live in the 70s anymore. How about trying to write for the current year.

    Put shows on with leading characters of different nationalities who haven't been whitewashed.

    Put on shows with homosexual partners trying to live in a society where religious beliefs make their day-to-day lives a nightmare.

    Put on shows that don't insult our intelligence, especially when it comes to technology.

    Put on shows where doctors aren't arrogant jerks who can solve any case, even if it's too late to save the patient.

    In other words: make shows more like reality, not what someone thinks it is or should be.

    As for the FCC: sure, let them say "fuck". If it'll help get the ball rolling on better shows, we'll see what they do with this new responsibility.

    I'm betting we'll just see contestants say "fuck" when they can't fit in that hole in the wall.

     

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      Not much more to be said other than this.

       

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      lfroen (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      While I agree with your general idea of "make modern shows", the devil is of cause in details.
      What do you think, "Game of Thrones" is modern? Is it about "homosexual partners" (what's modern about them?), or "doctors" or "like reality"? Answer is no.

      The recipe for success is talent, not some particular show formula.
      What's so important about saying "fuck"? Hint: nothing at all. If your show depends on ability to say obscenities, guess what - it's not very good.

       

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        Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re:

        You do realize my examples weren't to be taken verbatim, right?

        Game of Thrones is successful because the show isn't using the "formula of success".

        Do you really think any of the networks would air a show like this even if the nudity, sex, and profanity were removed?

        Incest? On TV? Think of the network executive! ;)

        Point is: success is based on making people immerse themselves into the show, not treating them like they're bystanders of decades-old storytelling.

         

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          Mike Brown (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 5:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm all for modernizing the guidelines a bit, because times change. I think to a certain extent, networks are recognizing that. You would never have seen shows like Modern Family, Will and Grace, or Two Broke Girls in the 70's.

          And no, you don't need obscenity to have a successful show. I don't think there's been a single episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon didn't use the word "coitus" at least once, and it's funny every time.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 6:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Coitous" is a scientific and medical term. Sheldon's use of it isn't derogatory because its his character's way of saying "entering penis in vagina and pumping" or "fucking"....so when it's within context and clearly no other way to the character's personality to describe it, then it's acceptable... The word "fuck" is a derogatory term for "coitous" and is often used colloquially as an insult or an expression of surprise an many colorful ways...this is why Sheldon's use of Coitous is acceptable.

             

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        tracker1 (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:05am

        I feel both are accurate

        I think part of it is being able to talk in an adult context like real people. Being able to say "fuck" is part of that, but not the whole.

        The cable networks are working for better, original content. The TV networks are far more about the latest low-cost reality TV series with 20+ minutes of commercials per hour of programming, not producing great shows. Game of Thrones, Dexter and Breaking Bad wouldn't take much change at all to be on broadcast TV, certainly not enough to ruin said shows.

        Hell, the same studios make a lot of the cable shows that are great, as make shows for broadcast TV... guess what, broadcast TV doesn't want an awesome show that will cost a couple million an episode for acting, when they can come up with yet another reality or contest show where the bulk of the people on the show are unpaid. "You mean we can pay one celebrity, and everyone else on screen gets zip, then we can pay out the winner six figures and call it good? F***ing awesome!"

         

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      PRMan, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      "What's the difference between a sitcom today and a sitcom from the 70s?

      Absolutely nothing"

      Are you completely kidding? Absolutely everything!

      Shows in the 70s like Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Newhart, What's Happening? and on and on could be enjoyed by the whole family.

      Look through the TV lineup now. There is NOTHING scripted that I would feel comfortable even letting a teenager watch now. Why is reality TV king? Because screenwriters can't be bothered to--you know--make a ton of money by making a clean, but comedically smart, family show. (iCarly crushed on cable for this exact reason.)

      So all that's left for the family to watch together are shows like Amazing Race and American Idol, which, incidentally, make tons of money off the underserved family market.

      Look at the top of IMDBs box office 250. In the Top 50, over 75% of the list were made with families in mind, even if they were PG-13 (think Avengers). And they make absolute bank.

      But instead, the morally bankrupt in Hollywood would rather say the F-word on TV instead of making money. Like they are still immature 13-year-olds getting away with something.

      The problem is exactly backward from what the TV executives are saying. So what else is new? It's amazing these idiots have jobs.

       

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        PlagueSD (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Shows in the 70s like Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Newhart, What's Happening? and on and on could be enjoyed by the whole family.


        Let's see...

        Laverne & Shirley:
        2 single women living together. With all the issues with same-sex marriage in this country, this show will NEVER succeed.

        The Jeffersons / All in the Family / Sanford & Son:
        Would be cancelled shortly after airing for being a racist show.

        I personally loved those shows growing up. With how "sensitive" people are today...They won't stand a chance on the air anymore. Sitcoms have gone the way of the "Reality" show. I'm sorry, If I want to watch "Reality" I can just look out my window...Honey bobo, toddlers in tiaras, and all those damn I think I can sing programs are driving me nuts!!!

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re:

        2 things:

        1) You're missing the point. Sitcoms today are following the "formula" used by the 70's sitcoms verbatim. If people want to see those shows, they can look back at those old shows and in most cases, see just as good, if not better versions of them.

        2) Wait, you think that shows are inappropriate for kids, so the obvious answer is to show kids reality TV? O_o I think I understand now how those shows are surviving, people don't bother seeing the answer of, "watch something else not on TV" or "not watch something."

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    I feel like the result of this will just be people swearing more and no improvement in the actual content.

     

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    cpt kangarooski, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Well, the US safe harbor is from 10 pm to 6 am, IIRC. This could work fine for the last hour of prime time (and aid in giving people a reason to watch longer, and lead into the 11 pm news, which I'm sure the networks would like), but the problem is that they would need to set up repeaters for Central and Mountain time zone stations to avoid some stations airing the material outside the safe harbor. Surely this can't be too difficult to do anymore.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    If the broadcasters think being allowed to swear and show nudity will enable them be relevant again, and if they think being "relevant" is their issue, they've got a lot bigger problems than the FCC or PTC.

     

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      Bengie, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      Essentially they're saying that the talent is flocking away from broadcasters because of restrictions on expression and these artsy talent show creators don't like to be tied down.

      So they flock to the Internet or Cable where they can swear and show nudity.

      The issue is that broadcasters pay good money for these public airwaves. What would happen if they said "screw it" and dropped broadcasting because it's too expensive and just went to the Internet?

      While that sounds great and all, over-the-air TV is still important for emergencies. What if the Internet went down and the government needed to tell the citizens what to do?

      Not everyone has a radio, but almost everyone has a TV, but it won't help if there's no channels.

       

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        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re:

        What if the Internet went down and the government needed to tell the citizens what to do?

        I just got myself a Galaxy S4. The other night I was startled when the emergency broadcast tone sounded. I was sitting in front of my computer playing a game and that beeping certainly wasn't coming from it. Then I realized - it was my new phone alerting me to a flash flood warning in my area delivered via the emergency broadcast system.

        Not everyone has a radio, but almost everyone has a TV, but it won't help if there's no channels.

        Smartphones now make up more than half of all mobile phones and still rapidly growing. TVs don't turn themselves on for emergency broadcasts, yet my phone alerted me even though I wasn't paying attention to it.

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re:

        Not everyone has a radio, but almost everyone has a TV, but it won't help if there's no channels.


        That's funny, I would have said it exactly the other way around. If an emergency happens, I'm not turning on the TV (if I could get OTA television anymore), I'm turning on the radio.

        About that OTA business: the digital switchover means that I get no channels right now anyway. I have two houses, one in a medium-large city, and neither of them can get the new digital transmissions without buying a very expensive antenna. That cost is more than TV is worth to me, so I don't get TV broadcasts. Television is worthless to me in terms of getting any emergency information at all.

         

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          Wally (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh you can get digital OTA signals....it's called QAM....our broadcasting companies have been curmudgeons about it. In Columbus, Ohio, you can get all the major broadcasters through local news affiliates and PBS (WOSU) on digital and in 1080i. The problem is that the curmudgeons don't like OTA because it is free.

           

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    Lord Binky, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Sure why not. There isn't anything special to swear words, the feeling behind word choice doesn't change and the overuse of ambigous words or phrases just looks bad on the person. I find hearing someone saying swear words to substitute their vocabulary just as offensive as using non swear words.

     

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    Dark Tinker, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Clearly this article ends on a note that could not be more mistaken. The evidence does not show that "The broadcasters have enough problems already." It would be better said that the broadcaster have been starving for problems for the last forty or fifty years. Their output has been an example of the kind of complacency that can exist only when the direction seems to be clear and the feedback says "oh yes, more of the same, please."

    It will be interesting to see what the "broadcasters" come up with now that they see the need to change.

     

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    baditup (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Be like Nike

    and Just Do It, broadcasters... You have more power than you think... and that's really all that matters to you, networks, doesn't it?

    fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck

    ad infinitum

     

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    Michael, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    FCC Response

    Dear broadcasters,

    Feel free to say whatever the f*** you want from now on.

    Nobody is watching.


    - FCC

     

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    PlagueSD (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Will this mean I can finally watch episodes of Jerry Springer without thinking my smoke detector is going off??

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Minion cheers lowering standard.

    Anybody can be crude and vulgar. Once upon a time, even poor people consciously avoided vulgarity because wanted to be seen as educated, but you kids have been taught to feature stupidity, and consciously try to lower yourself to dog level.

    We are losing even the notion of civilized speech, just as in Orwell's 1984, adopting the limited vocabulary necessary for Newspeak, quickly dumbing down to the level in "Idiocracy". It's not something to cheer, but to be ashamed of.

    What's next for you kids? Eating your enemy's heart like the CIA-funded rebels in Syria? Is there any point you'll want to stop at? If so, how much will you then wish that you'd drawn the line far higher?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:12am

      Re: Minion cheers lowering standard.

      See that's part of the problem, you equate a strong vocabulary with intelligence.

       

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:19am

        Re: Re: Minion cheers lowering standard.

        See that's part of the problem, you equate a strong vocabulary with intelligence.
        Oh, the irony!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Minion cheers lowering standard.

          But it also means that even if you have a strong command of the English language, does not mean that you are intelligent

           

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      Ron, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:16am

      Re: Minion cheers lowering standard.

      Shut the fuck up, idiot. Most people here are educated adults. I am 47 and I work in the computer industry. Stop assuming everything you dumb shit.

       

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        Ruben, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: Minion cheers lowering standard.

        Exactly the reply she was looking for.

        Just report and get on with your life.

        Don't feed the trolls, please.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 3:58pm

      Re: Minion cheers lowering standard.

      I love the word 'fuck,' and using it often doesn't make me any less intelligent than you. Suck it up, buttercup.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Broadcasters have a government established monopoly. The government shouldn't grant unregulated monopolies and as such I don't mind the government, when granting a monopoly, regulating it to some extent in the public interest. If the government is to grant a communications monopoly there should be some regulations ensuring that the monopoly is used in the public interest (and that other people and entities, that may disagree with the monopoly holder, also get heard).

    Really, though, the solution here is to abolish government established broadcasting monopolies for private and commercial use (note, before someone comes jumping at me, I did not say to abolish all spectra regulations). These monopolies are in violation of the first amendment in that the government is effectively regulating free speech into the hands of a private/commercial entity. Dissent supporting the self interested views of the monopoly holder will be disproportionately represented while those opposing their views will be disproportionately ignored.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Since public broadcasters now use their shows as the reason to serve you ads, I can't stand them. I don't see that changing even if the FCC changes rules in midstream. Nor do I care one iota for PPV tv.

    The programming for shows long ago, reached idiocy level and is an insult to watch most of them. More for their lack of content. Any time a joke line requires canned laughter to tell you were the punch line is, that's a pretty crappy joke.

    I have absolutely no interest in soaps, reality shows, nor extremely bias news casts.

    It's no longer worth having a tv for programs that aren't worth watching.

     

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    Rich, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    I've always found the concept of "swear words" to be a bit silly. People try to tiptoe around it by saying things like "dang" instead of "damn." What's the difference? You mean the same thing regardless of which word you use. Besides, what is considered vulgarity is strongly tied to the culture and generation in which were born. What was considered a swear word in the 19th century, we would giggle at today. Are they going to try to censure the entire range, so as to not offend anyone? Remember when they couldn't even say "pregnant" on TV?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      Besides, what is considered vulgarity is strongly tied to the culture and generation in which were born. What was considered a swear word in the 19th century, we would giggle at today.

      Yes. I enjoyed Deadwood a lot when it was on, and it was a show that had a pretty fair amount of swearing in it. I recall reading, however, that when the show runners were asked why they had chosen to use modern swears instead of period language (it's a cowboy show, if you're not familiar with it), they said that they tried, but that it just made people sound like Yosemite Sam, and it destroyed the effect they were after.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    The tricky part is that TV broadcasts are more accessible to everyone. If we allowed large amounts of copious swearing and cursing, the little tape recorders we call "children" will repeat the rather adult language at younger and younger ages and thus loose respect for the people that raise them.

     

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      Rich, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      TV shouldn't raise your children.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      "children" will repeat the rather adult language at younger and younger ages and thus loose respect for the people that raise them.


      I don't see the connection between repeated swear words and losing respect for their parents at all.

      But this comment brought a memory back from my grade school days. I was once sent to detention for saying something "sucks". "Sucks," I was told, is an obscenity that refers to a sexual act. This was news to my 6th grade mind! I had no idea that it meant something naughty until that moment. To me, "sucks" was just a relatively neutral expression of dislike of something.

      My point is that if kids start using swear words a lot, those words will cease to be potent swear words. The day is coming when "fuck" and "fiddlesticks" will carry the same amount of power and meaning. Children picking these words up does not engender a disrespect for parents (depending on how parents react to their kids using the language), but rather demotes the words to mediocrity.

      And that is why I think people should swear sparingly: there are times when a powerful, shocking, obscene expletive is demanded by a situation. It would be a shame is there were none left when one was needed.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 11:50am

        Re: Re:

        But this comment brought a memory back from my grade school days. I was once sent to detention for saying something "sucks". "Sucks," I was told, is an obscenity that refers to a sexual act. This was news to my 6th grade mind! I had no idea that it meant something naughty until that moment. To me, "sucks" was just a relatively neutral expression of dislike of something.

        Funny. I got in trouble in high school for promoting a school event with a poster that used the word "sucks" as well, and had the exact same reaction (we had used it as a joke, playing on the Primus slogan "Primus Sucks") and school administrators went off on this whole thing about how it referred to a sexual act -- which shocked all of us. We'd never even considered that. At all.

        My point is that if kids start using swear words a lot, those words will cease to be potent swear words. The day is coming when "fuck" and "fiddlesticks" will carry the same amount of power and meaning. Children picking these words up does not engender a disrespect for parents (depending on how parents react to their kids using the language), but rather demotes the words to mediocrity.

        I'm reminded of a story that Kevin Smith has told a few times on his podcast -- he and his wife curse freely and often -- and they have a daughter. He talks about how one time, when she was three or four they got her to say a variety of combinations of "shit" as a suffix: batshit, bullshit, horseshit, etc. And then they explained to her what it meant, and she was mortified and stopped swearing throughout her childhood. The idea that kids hearing swear words suddenly makes them bad is ridiculous and unlikely to be true.

         

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          Wally (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I never said children would turn out bad....but I'd rather be the one teaching my children about it and them picking it up from me so I could explain it to them rather than from the box in front of them.

          I will point one thing out. There is an art to swearing as an actor...and there is an art to acting it out, and there is an art to writing it in at a dramatic moment. TV shows are written to be melodramatic because of the short time span in which things are having to be portrayed...it takes precise dramatic timing to act out swearing otherwise it looks casual when it isn't.

          So I do agree with both of you.

          I'm just glad nobody questioned how I pointed out the hypocrisy in those companies asking to have uncensored nudity and swearing in the name of art.

           

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          Ninja (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 3:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hahaha my parents never said any swearing words at home when we were kids and I swear a whole damn lot (in Portuguese at least, I often don't know if I'm swearing or not in English). Same with my girl, her father used to create swearing words if existing ones didn't express his feelings. And she barely says any swearing words outside our friends circles (no Google+ pun intended). Her sister doesn't swear at all.

          And there's this funny story where her sister said something like "fuyou" (fuck you) to her father when she was like 2 because she didn't want to do something. Instead of getting angry he laughed and explained her that she should not use such wording outside. And she didn't use anymore.

          It goes on into the sexual realm. We sexualize kids in our minds, we put malice where there's little or none. And this often shock the kids. It's all an epidemic of hypocritical moralism that has been running for a while now.

          Heck, Google even sent a notice telling you can't profit from adult content on Blogger anymore. I say FUCK YOU Google.

           

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    Cejay (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Decline primary technological

    I disagree that the decline of viewer ship is purely technological. I believe that is a significant factor in a fairly complex explanation.

    Cost of Cable/Satellite is a factor, so is choosing to create really bad TV. Just last night cruising the guide I saw a show titled "I'm pregnant and so is my teen." I wanted to cancel my provider right then and there and I could easily name 10 more really crappy shows on prime time.

     

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    Wally (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    F-Bomb

    Leigh...imagine if you would, a four year old or three year old sitting in front of the TV and someone on screen drops the F-Bomb....swearing when done appropriately is perfectly acceptable but not when a child starts using those words against their parents.

    Furthermore, just because we here in the US have free speech doesn't mean it wise to consistently swear and curse about everything. We can most definitely swear but it doesn't go very well for ratings if major broadcasters constantly do it.

    Removing the blockage is not about art and culture in this case....Tell me, since when has any of the aforementioned broadcasting companies ever fought for the spread of culture? Surely you can't tell us that culture is their motive for removing the restriction because it is their braying and barking against fair use in the first place that blocks culture..not that lack of swearing.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:49am

      Re: F-Bomb

      > someone on screen drops the F-Bomb....swearing
      > when done appropriately is perfectly acceptable

      Use of the word 'fuck' is not swearing. Swearing involves invocation of some kind of deity. "Goddammit" is swearing. Words like 'fuck', 'shit', 'ass', 'bitch', etc. are mere vulgarities, not swear words.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re: F-Bomb

        Meh. It's a distinction without a difference (except to linguists), really.

         

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        Wally (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

        Re: Re: F-Bomb

        The problem is that the broadcasters are asking it in the name of frowning culture and fewer viewers. I rarely use adult language rarely and it's only if I'm extremely angry (using f-bombs) or startled (shit)...a lot of the "art" the broadcasters wish to portray doesn't stem from art of acting at all. Only the very best of actors can pull off the more realistic balance. The thing is that networks want to allow unnecessary use of adult language and it's vastly hypocritical to ask the FCC to remove the restrictions. I can't stand pervasive unnecessary casual swearing in a show because it is very distracting.

        So let's look at this. These networks often fought against fair use clauses in art and culture. So when they go asking to remove these restrictions in the light of less viewership, and in the name of culture of free speech, it's vastly hypocritical because they themselves tried to stifle fair use and free speech therein.

         

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          btr1701 (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: F-Bomb

          > a lot of the "art" the broadcasters wish to
          > portray doesn't stem from art of acting at all.
          > Only the very best of actors can pull off the
          > more realistic balance.

          None of which is a proper concern for government regulation. It's not the place of the federal government to be worrying about how good a job actors are doing in portraying their characters or how realistic they make the dialog sound.

          > I can't stand pervasive unnecessary casual
          > swearing in a show because it is very
          > distracting.

          Keeping you from being distracted while watching TV is hardly justification for intrusive federal regulation, possible imposition on the 1st Amendment, the creation of a costly enforcement bureacracy and the levying of massive fines on private business.

          Frankly, you're not that important, and it's not the government's job to be the quality assurance official for your television entertainment.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 5:17am

          Re: Re: Re: F-Bomb

          Tell me where the first amendment says anything about speech having to be art or for that matter anything about art at all?

           

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            Wally (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: F-Bomb

            Well you're nothing but a fucking piece of shit for brains who doesn't know his ass from his piehole. Fucking cunt!

            Don't blame me, I'm exercising my free speech rights.

             

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    F-Troop

    Anyone remember F-Troop. I listened to an NPR show several years ago where Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker could not stop laughing at how they put the screws to the FCC. How? Remember the Facowie (sp?), the Indian tribe (I guess Native American today) in the show? According to the shows stars, this meant 'Where the Fuck are we!' There were other, but this is the one I remember.

    All us FCC'ers am Smart.

     

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    Nicci Stevens, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Tits doesn't even belong on the list!

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    channels delivered by cable and satellite television, the Internet, video games and other media


    With all of those things some adult chooses to pay for them and let them into their home. It's the parent's responsibility - and yes, there are a few parents left that are very concerned with what media goes into their homes.

    Parents have no choice what is broadcast over the air into their home, and that why the rules are in place. It makes sense to me.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      Parents have no choice what is broadcast over the air into their home


      This makes no sense to me. So parents are able to control the TV when it's hooked up to cable, but they suddenly lose control when it's hooked up to an antenna?

      Last I checked, the "off" button works equally well in either use case.

       

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      cpt kangarooski, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

      Re:

      Parents have no choice what is broadcast over the air into their home, and that why the rules are in place. It makes sense to me.


      That's right! Sure, parents had a choice as to whether to have children to begin with, have a choice whether to raise them, have a choice whether to have a TV set at all, have a choice whether to connect it to an antenna to receive over the air broadcasts, have a choice as to whether it can be used, and in practice, given features that have been present on all TV sets sold in the US since 2000, have a choice as to which channels can be watched, what times the tv can be turned on, and what ratings of shows the tv will display.

      Clearly parents totally lack options here and cannot possibly do without the prudes of the FCC poking their noses in where they don't belong!

      Won't someone think of the children!

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

      Re:

      > Parents have no choice what is broadcast
      > over the air into their home

      Sure they do. It's called the Power button.

       

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    wolfy, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    The only thing between good tv on the public airwaves and the viewing public is the FCC powered by bible thumping religious groups. Here, it's religion that's the problem. These asshats feel it's their mission to make sure that their stone-age morals are the basis for everyone's TV viewing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Dear FCC:
    I think it's a fair exchange to allow them to say "fuck" and other banned words under the condition that they are no longer allowed to use "Laugh Tracks". Like ever. Or any variation thereof.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      I would back this idea!

       

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      Wally (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

      Re:

      Man that would work...it removes the inadvertent child like thought that cursing like that is funny in real life...

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Jun 26th, 2013 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re:

        > it removes the inadvertent child like
        > thought that cursing like that is funny
        > in real life

        Actually, it is often quite funny in both real life and on the screen.

        They're just words. Lighten up, Francis.

         

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          Wally (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm laughing my ass off at how big a fucktard you are....don't look at me like that they're just words...

           

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            btr1701 (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > I'm laughing my ass off at how big a
            > fucktard you are....don't look at me
            > like that they're just words...

            I'm not looking at you.

            You seem to think you're making a point by calling me names using all those 'bad' words, that it'll teach me a lesson when I realize how it makes me feel or something.

            All you did is make me chuckle. Like I said, lighten up, Francis.

             

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              Wally (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 11:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ok the point is different people handle those words differently. If the FCC does remove restrictions on adult language it would be placating to those who don't mind it so much. Specifically speaking, one group's view cannot really outweigh another's. Standards of linguistics and morals may change or evolve over time.

              If a show had more pervasive swearing, one group might be turned on to it, while others might flip out and not watch it. Brother, regardless of what you prefer, some other person might not agree to it. The broadcasting companies asking the FCC to remove the restriction are clearly out of their gourds. They are asking the FCC to prefer their views over that of their own viewers. The thing is that some groups would be very upset about increased adult language on a daily basis and they would make it worse on themselves.

              The broadcasters are basically blaming the FCC for ruining their shows by not having swearing...I don't know where you've lived over the years, but I think the quality of television has declined since the mid to late 1990's. There have been a few gems here and there, but I would rather blame the broadcasting companies for losing viewership due to inflated budgets.

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    I swear a lot and deppite that the most viral thing at the moment is lovely cats on the internet or as it came to be known LoLCats.

    We all know is bad, I read that a Gorilla that learned hand signs learned by herself how to call people when she was angry with them for whatever reason, she invented the word "shithead".

    Maybe is some need for some to control what others do, but I don't think making rules will get rid of the swearing in this world as I am sure that we will never get people trying to reduce it either, those are two natural forces competing in my view, and is the natural state, whatever the decision ends up being I am sure it will be fine in the end.

    That all to say, it doesn't matter.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Bang your dick
    Metal health will make you sick
    Bang your cock
    Metal health will make you rock
    Bang your weiner
    Metal health will make you meaner

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 4:22pm

    Fucking MAFIAA is so stupid.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    This is a good thing

    I've long since said that we need to do away with the part of the FCC that tells us what we can and can't see or hear over the public airwaves. Hopefully they win this and score 1 for the first amendment. With all the threats we've had to our Constitutional rights, it's about time we had some good news on that front.

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Penn and Teller: Bullshit!

    From Wikipedia:

    In the "Profanity" episode, Penn tells the viewers that the planned title for Bullshit! was Humbug! This, Penn goes on to say, relates their skepticism (and TV show) to Harry Houdini's reactions to the popular misconceptions of his day; but the idea was scrapped because humbug had less of an impact than the more profane, more informal word, bullshit. It is also discussed during the profanity episode that humbug was considered as profane at one time as bullshit today. During that same episode, Penn and Teller themselves did not use any profanity, even changing the name of the show to Humbug! for that episode. At one point, Penn suggests the use of the phrase Jesus Christ! by a non-Christian is not profanity, but as Teller apparently drops a bowling ball on his foot just as he mentions the phrase, his yelling of the expression makes its use ambiguous.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    I'd just like to point out (and I should have made this clear earlier) that this is about a lot more than profanity. FCC regulations cover all sorts of supposedly "adult" content, and not just that which is directly profane or sexual -- even certain implications and double entendres can be considered out of bounds. This also isn't just about comedy or trashy shows -- in fact, there is a huge issue of context that is a big part of the problem. Sometimes context is considered -- networks have aired Schindler's List uncut, for example, and not been fined, though the same nudity and profanity would draw huge fines in most shows. It's easy to say "well, it's Schindler's List" -- but there is nothing in the FCC rules that actually draws a line or explains the distinction (nor would we want the FCC playing that kind of art critic role anyway).

    Making this a simple debate about whether it's okay to say "fuck" on TV is reductive (and I accept some of the blame for not offering more examples off the bat)

     

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    John85851 (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    The problem is advertisers, not the f-word

    The main problem with network TV is that they make shows for advertisers, not viewers. Every show on network TV is designed to bring in the largest audience possible so the networks can charge higher prices for advertising. Sometimes this results in excellent shows that everyone wants to watch and sometimes it results in terrible shows that everyone laughs at.

    Why in the bloody world do networks still have "sweeps week"? (In case you don't know, this is a 2-week period in the spring and fall where networks put on their "biggest shows" (meaning: with the highest stars) so they can reach the most viewers so they can set their advertising rate for the following season.) Yet everyone in the industry knows that this system is gamed because not every episode will get the same number of viewers as the sweeps-week special.

    This means that every network show has a cost/ income ratio, also known as "profit". If a drama like CSI costs $5 million to produce, but brings in $10 million in advertising, then that's a 2:1 profit ratio.
    However, what if a dumb reality game show can be made for $250,000 and bring in $2 million in advertising? That's an 8:1 profit ratio. Yes, the networks bring in less total advertising income, but the profit margins are higher, which means they can make more shows for less money and bring in more advertising.

    This is also why networks use the same TV show formula over and over: they don't want risk spending their money on show that gets low ratings, and which advertisers won't pay for commercials.

    The next problem is that these advertisers have been controlling the network content every since the beginning. In some ways, this is simply product placement: Want to use a car in your show? Use Ford since it's buying the most commercials. (See the hour-long Ford commercial called "Knight Rider" from 2008 for a good example of this.)
    But this also means that the advertisers can censor a show if the content doesn't meet their "corporate values". The network will usually give in to these demands because they don't want to lose a wealthy advertiser. Sure, some networks will "stand up" for the show's content, but it's only for one or two episodes, and then the show goes back to being bland.

    On the other hand, HBO doesn't have to worry about pleasing advertisers, so they can basically do whatever they want. In fact, they can do the opposite of network TV: by making innovative and different shows, they can get people to PAY to watch them. When was the last time anyone wanted to pay for a network show? Okay, I kid, but the point still stands.

    So, in a way, the US TV audience is getting what they pay for: after 50 years of getting advertiser-paid shows, we're now getting more "filler" shows (reality shows, game shows, reality game shows, etc) and less dramatic shows

    P.S. I love the usual comments from parents who say they don't want their children to hear bad language on TV. I agree on this point, but why is it the government's job to regulate speech on TV shows? The networks should know not to put swear words on shows meant for children and parents should know not to let kids watch adult shows. If your kid is watching Law & Order or House or CSI or Mad Men, then the swearing is the least of your concerns.

     

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    hopponit (profile), Jun 29th, 2013 @ 6:59pm

    fcc

    I am way past all the profanity. Yes it had shock value at first, but I've heard them already.Now the f-bomb has gotten to be just as useful as hearing "like" every three words in a conversation. Like totally, I was like scratching my like ---humm--like nose. I do agree that there is too much interference in broadcast versus cable and all.

     

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