• NBC: Violent Dramas OK for 14-Year-Olds

    by  • October 23, 2013 • Misrated, Ratings Reform, Violence • 2 Comments

    In our most recent study, the Parents Television Council found that all but one of NBC’s dramas contain graphic violence, yet all are rated – by NBC itself — as appropriate for 14-year-old children. 

    NBC has undergone a dramatic shift in programming over the last year, towards dramas with violence so graphic, gruesome, and gory that it should concern every parent. NBC’s violent dramas include Revolution, about armed bands roaming post-apocalypse America; firefighter drama Chicago Fire; supernatural thriller Grimm; cop drama Ironside;  The Blacklist, a spy thriller which frequently features graphic torture; Law & Order: SVU, a program entirely about violent sex crimes and child molestation; and Hannibal, devoted to serial killer Hannibal Lecter. There is plenty of violence on other networks; but no other broadcast network has shown the amount of graphic violence as NBC.

    In the wake of the tragic school shooting at Newtown, network representatives met with Vice President Joe Biden, and promised to be more responsible about violent content. Now we see the truth: by airing these ultra-violent shows, and rating them as appropriate for young teens, the networks have proven that the entertainment industry does not care about violence on TV.

    While the increased violence and mis-rating of programs should definitely concern parents, it should also concern the entertainment industry, which tells parents to solely rely on the TV ratings system for accurate information. By assigning these programs a TV-14 rating, NBC is claiming that scenes showing a man’s body being cut in half, fungus-infested corpses, graphic torture with a knife, and severe beatings, are appropriate for children as young as 14. How can anyone believe such ratings are accurate?

    The PTC’s evidence shows clearly that the TV ratings system needs to be completely overhauled. The networks are financially motivated not to give their shows a TV-MA rating for fear of losing advertisers — yet the industry tells parents to rely on the ratings to make appropriate viewing choices for their families.

    In order for the content ratings system to have any credibility whatsoever, it must be accurate, consistent, transparent and accountable to the public. It is long past time for the ratings system to be reformed so it serves the needs of parents and families. The PTC is committed to taking this fight to broadcasters, and using every means possible to force them to act responsibly…because our children are watching.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    2 Responses to NBC: Violent Dramas OK for 14-Year-Olds

    1. October 25, 2013 at 9:07 am

      We have solved this problem. We refuse to watch almost every network offering….not only the violence but constant gay programming, sex shows like 3 Broke Idiots discussing items that we never discussed in the fraternity house in college. TV on network is not worth the electricity to watch it. We tape the shows we want to watch (60 minutes, Sunday Morning, Letterman and a movie now & then & leave it at that.
      Zombies, Dracula types etc. forget it. The new shows supposedly based on children’s stories are beyond belief.
      If we ever need censorship, it is NOW. I wrote to the Pres if CBS & got NO response.

      • William Warfield
        October 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm

        Naturally. He probably just laughed off your letter and threw it in the “circular file.”

        But, if more people wrote, at least it would make it harder for the CBS president to duck if anyone else complains about their “entertainment.”

        I *do* agree. We need stricter standards *now* (i.e. put this filth on after 11:30 P.M. when kids are asleep)!

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