Every week, millions of families tune in to Fox’s American Idol. Viewers love the music, the healthy spirit of competition, and the chance to root for everyday, small-town Americans to have a chance at achieving their dream.
Most of all, America loves the show because parents still enjoy watching TV with their children, and Idol is one of the few programs on TV today that is still safe for families to watch together…or it was.
Until last week.
Families across America – the very families that helped make American Idol the number one show in America — received a rude slap in the face from the producers, the executives at Fox, and from the entertainers that were invited to perform during the May 25 season finale.
Pop singer Lady Gaga had previously appeared on the show as a guest judge wearing shoes with a heel designed to look like a phallus; nevertheless she was invited back for the season finale, where she performed “On the Edge.”
In the course of her performance, Gaga stripped to a glitter-covered black bra and panties, spread her legs, and writhed to the music. Later, she was joined by a bare-chested man who groped her crotch, bent her over and kissed her chest, then straddled her as she lay on the ground.
What on Earth were the producers of American Idol thinking? After six years being number one in the ratings and beloved by millions of families, the producers of Idol still felt it was acceptable to assault families with this blatantly sexual performance.
Millions of parents and grandparents feel utterly betrayed, and justifiably so.
Up until last week, American Idol had largely been free of inappropriate content. But now, how can parents ever trust the show again, knowing that at any moment their children might be exposed to explicitly sexual antics like Lady Gaga’s?
This is why the PTC’s work is so important.
Instead of offering TV shows that are entertaining, many television network programmers are more interested in finding new ways to shock viewers – and pushing explicit sex, graphic violence, and profane language into their shows is a favorite tactic.
But the PTC fights back!
Through our Advertiser Accountability programs, we hold advertisers who sponsor offensive TV responsible for the content they pay for. Through our research studies, our communications and public education efforts, and the hard work of our grassroots volunteers, we keep the pressure on sponsors, the networks and regulatory agencies to clean up TV so it’s fit to watch.
And we’ve been successful! Here are just a few of our recent triumphs:
• MTV’s Skins was the most dangerous television program ever aimed at children. Thanks to our efforts, after the first broadcast the two biggest sponsors dropped off the show. Within two weeks, every major corporate sponsor pulled out of that program after being contacted by the PTC and its members. And when MTV announced their shows for next year, Skins had been removed from the schedule.
• CBS recently announced its planned fall schedule…and the offensive $#!* My Dad Says was nowhere to be seen. Even though this program was one of the highest-rated comedies on broadcast television this season, routinely in the top 25 every week, CBS decided not to renew it. After the PTC condemned the show for using a four-letter profanity for excrement in the title, many of the largest sponsors left the show. This wave of sponsor desertions outweighed the show’s high ratings so much that CBS decided to cut its losses and not renew the show.
• Earlier this year, the Disney-owned ABC network announced that next fall it would premiere two new shows, both with the woman-hating b-word in the title: The B**** in Apartment 23 and, throwing in an insult to Christians in the bargain, Good Christian B******. Again, the PTC took action…and again we got results! When ABC formally announced its fall schedule, the programs’ titles had been changed to Apartment 23 and Good Christian Belles.
The PTC’s work is vitally necessary to protecting our children and grandchildren from offensive, harmful media content. And we are making a difference!
But our work is possible only with your help. We urgently need every member to consider a gift to the PTC at this time.
Please take a moment and make a secure, online donation to the PTC by clicking here. And remember, every penny us is tax deductible.
On behalf of our board of directors, our entire staff, and – especially – from me personally: thank you for your generous support that makes this work possible…because our children are watching.
By: Parents Television Council