Two programs with adult content in prime time have been cancelled.
The Parents Television Council welcomed the news that ABC canceled The Real O’Neals, a “family” show that for two seasons consistently marketed adult content – sexual content and profanity – to children; and that Fox canceled Scream Queens, which featured graphic gore and sexual content typically seen in R-rated movies, yet was rated as appropriate for children.
In March 2016, the PTC conducted an analysis of the first three episodes of The Real O’Neals and found that children watching were exposed to either sexual dialogue or bleeped profanities on an average of once every 43 seconds – in spite of the fact that the show was rated TV-PG and aired as early as 7:30 p.m. in half the country.
The PTC’s review of Scream Queens said, “Parents are warned: mean-spirited, sexualized, gory horror show is unsafe for children of any age.” Content in the show has included a character’s face being fried in hot cooking fat; another character is sprayed with hydrochloric acid, with close-ups showing her bloody skin burning and melting off; several young sorority pledges are buried in the ground up to their necks while the “Devil” drives over their heads on a riding mower.
“Tuesday nights just got a bit safer for children and families watching television. ABC and Fox have canceled primetime programs that were routinely filled with sex, violence, and profanity, yet were marketed by the networks as appropriate for children. We call on the networks to replace these explicit programs with high-quality, family-friendly fare,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“Scream Queens contained the type of violence normally seen in R-rated films, yet Fox rated the program TV-14. And The Real O’Neals frequently included scenes with children delivering or receiving profane, sexually-explicit dialogue — yet the show was rated TV-PG by Disney-owned ABC. It is impossible to reconcile Disney’s PG-rated television content on The Real O’Neals with Disney’s PG-rated films, such as Cinderella, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur.
“The PTC consistently communicated with corporate sponsors of both programs, and we are heartened by the large number that shifted their advertising dollars away after learning of the content they were underwriting.
“Additionally, many of the advertisers on Fox’s The Mick have also shifted their media dollars elsewhere after learning of the explicit content on that program. We hope that Fox will reconsider its decision to renew The Mick, while also reconsidering its decision to cancel a positive program like Pitch, which refreshingly offers a positive and inspiring female lead character. Surely the networks can program their schedules in order to entertain broad audiences without relying on ‘lowest common denominator’ content.”