Study says family hour TV filled with sex, violence, and profanity

Staff Report
September 12, 2007 at 2:37 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A new Parents Television Council™ study of Family Hour programming conclusively shows that children watching television during the first hour of prime time are assaulted by violence, profanity or sexual content once every 3.5 minutes of non-commercial airtime.

During the 2006-2007 study period, almost 90% of the 208 television shows reviewed contained objectionable content.

The PTC found that Fox is the worst broadcast network overall, noting its 20.78 instances of violent, profane and sexual content each hour -- nearly double the amount of similar content shown on any of the five other major broadcast networks.

Fox’s American Dad took the cake for worst series overall based on the alarming 52 instances of objectionable content that was packed into each hour of programming.

By contrast, the CW Network featured the cleanest programming overall; and reality and game shows Deal or No Deal (NBC), Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (Fox), Identity (NBC), and Grease: You’re the One That I Want (ABC) were named the best overall due to the lack of foul language, violence and sexual content.

According to PTC President Tim Winter, "Our study clearly demonstrates that corporate interests have hijacked the Family Hour from families. This early prime time block was once reserved for programs the whole family could enjoy but it is now flooded with shows that contain adult programming.

The Family Hour was once lauded by the entertainment industry and members of Congress as a solution for parents who do not want their children to be exposed to graphic content for at least one hour each night. Shockingly, this data shows that parents cannot trust what is on during the so-called Family Hour for even a minute."

During the Family Hour, viewers have been exposed to visual depictions and verbal references to sexual content including partial nudity and pixilated nudity, adultery, oral sex, masturbation, pornography, anal sex, incest, violence, and a plethora of curse words.

Worst shows based on frequency of inappropriate content include My Name is Earl on NBC that contains more than 16 instances of foul language every single hour, The War at Home on Fox with 33 sexual depictions or references an hour and Fox’s 24 that features 28 occurrences of violence each hour.

By comparing this new 2006-2007 study period to a former PTC Family Hour report covering the 2001-2002 television season, the PTC found that incidences of sexual and violent content have increased by 22.1% and 52.4%, respectively. In spite of an overall decrease in foul language including words like "damn" and "crap" since 2001, broadcasters have greatly increased the prevalence of harsh language obscured by bleeps or partial editing such as "f-words" and "s-words."

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