• NBC’s Newest Star: Charles Manson

    by  • April 1, 2014 • Violence • 25 Comments

    NBC is already home to a TV series glorifying gruesome, gory serial killing and cannibalism on its series Hannibal. And this week, the network announced an upcoming series that will make a hero out of sadistic mass murderer Charles Manson.nbclogo

    The network is investing its show hailing Manson with considerable prestige. Tentatively titled Aquarius, the program is being billed as an “event series.” “The combination of…the Manson murders, along with a television star of the magnitude of David Duchovny, is the very definition of an event!” boasted NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, according to Deadline: Hollywood.

    NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt also cheered the new show, expressing “great pleasure” at working with Duchovny on the program highlighting one of the twentieth century’s most notorious killers. – or, as Greenblatt calls it, a “compelling drama.” Not coincidentally, Greenblatt and Duchovny worked together at premium cable network Showtime, where Greenblatt produced yet another serial killer show, Dexter, while Duchovny starred in the thinly-veiled pornography series Californication.

    Charles Manson is particularly notorious for masterminding the murder of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, along with various of her friends and the LaBianca family in 1969. That Greenblatt would make a movie about these murders demonstrates the utter contempt that Hollywood has for human lives – even those of their comrades in the entertainment industry.

    And, of course, Charles Manson is still alive, currently imprisoned in Corcoran State Prison in California. No doubt, he will be thrilled to hear that a major broadcast network is devoting 13 hours to making his career of racism, rape, murder, and mayhem into a “compelling” “event series.”



    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.

    25 Responses to NBC’s Newest Star: Charles Manson

    1. Pamela
      May 30, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Normally, I blame violence on the perpetrators and let’s face it, we have no conception of viable gun control in this country. However, this show is enough. Manson who is probably a teacher to crazies that will one day re-enter society, is also an egotist which is evident by his interviews. This show just fuels the fire which I am sure isn’t the intention but ultimately unavoidable. Had Manson been imprisoned in a monastery on an island, as was often the case in centuries past instead of at the feet of Melvin Purvis, perhaps HE would have turned out completely different. It is obvious by this time that these shows do nurture the worst in an individuals makeup.

    2. Carol
      April 13, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I think the show does a decent job of making the viewer despise Hannibal. Actually in Season 3 Hannibal will get caught and that is when the plot of Red Dragon (2002) will start. Then they will go through Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal (Film). Then a 7th and final season where Hannibal is stopped for good.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        April 14, 2015 at 8:22 am

        So: seven seasons of torture, murder, cannibalism, depravity, and gore…but they catch him in the last 5 minutes, so it’s okay?

    3. Carol
      April 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

      I seriously do not understand why you guys are so angry. In Hannibal, Hannibal Lecter is the villain. The entire point of the show is about his eventual defeat. It is about good triumphing over evil. How can it be promoting murder and cannibalism if those are the things the villain is doing? If their purpose was to promote these things wouldn’t they make Hannibal the protagonist and make him the eventual winner instead of the eventual loser?

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        April 13, 2015 at 3:25 pm


        Programs like Hannibal and The Following go out of their way to make the serial killers super-intelligent, charming, seductive, and attractive. Meanwhile, they portray the cops trying to catch the killers as emotionally damaged wrecks.

        Also, while the killer may eventually be defeated, for three or four or more seasons the program is reveling in graphic gore and sadism, exposing viewers to far more negative content. These aren’t simple “cops & robbers” shows; they essentially portray serial killers as charming and ultra-competent, if mildly eccentric, while the police are totally ineffective, season after season.

        True serial killers are evil, and they are NOT glamorous figures. For more insight on this subject, see this interview with a real-life “profiler” and criminal psychologist.

        • Carol
          April 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm

          OK I see your point. But why do you and other article writers keep calling Hannibal the hero? He’s not. You didn’t explain why every article on here mistakenly calls him the hero or protagonist of the show.

          • Christopher Gildemeister
            April 14, 2015 at 8:12 am

            But he is. He’s the “draw,” the selling point the network is emphasizing. NBC doesn’t sell the program with an attitude of, “See how heroic cops fought to take down a grotesque, heinous murderer.” Instead, their attitude is, “See how charming and glamorous the killer is! How long will he be able to string the bumbling cops along until he unfortunately slips up? And how much cool mayhem and gore he’ll cause along the way?”

            That’s why the show is called Hannibal, not To Catch A Murderer.

    4. Susan Coons
      April 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      I will not watch NBC again because of this. I suggest that anyone also incensed might chose to boycott NBC and let them know that they are doing so and recommending to friends to do the same. How do I forward this personal decision to NBC?
      Susan Coons

      • sCoons
        April 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Let’s boycott NBC for this and let them know.

    5. Donald Shuey
      April 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      NBC continues to take the low road, that’s why I have not watched their programing in years.

    6. Barbara A. Smith
      April 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Heinous! I predict another round of copycat crimes. When will we as society ever learn to glorify real heroes who do good for mankind? We seem to have things backwards. I do not view this as entertainment at all. The only publicity criminals should get is to let the public know clearly how wrong this is morally, how tragic and unfair for victims and their loved ones, and how unpleasant and boring it must be to lose all one’s freedoms as a consequence, confined instead to prison life.

    7. Jenna Walton
      April 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      And we wonder where these people come from that walk in and start shooting up schools, malls, etc. Between these kind of shows and the VIDEO GAMES our young people are brought up on, they are conditioned to watch this stuff and it doesn’t even phase them. We are still filling their minds (and ours) with garbage. It is no better than the sex, language, and other mess that is put on TV today. No, as one replied – if someone wants to know about Charles Manson, they can go on the internet or to a library!!

      • brandon
        May 19, 2015 at 1:38 am

        If someone reads the bible and started re-enacting atrocities from that would you blame the bible? Do you know how many serial killers there are that took inspiration from the bible? When you blame violent media for violent individuals you have to blame the bible for its share too. People get so upset about violence and sex in media despite the fact that the bible had these things in spades. It would be interesting if someone made a shot for shot TV show of the bible with every bit violence and sex left in. Where would the PTC fall? Would they call it Worst Show of the Week? Or would they accept it because it’s the bible? “It’s okay when the bible does it.” I really can’t find an answer to these questions anywhere.

        • Christopher Gildemeister
          May 19, 2015 at 9:11 am


          the PTC is not a religious organization, is not affiliated with any organized religion or spiritual movement, and takes no stand on questions touching religion. Therefore, the following reply is purely my own, personal take on the question you raise, and does not reflect the opinion of the Parents Television Council.

          My personal take is: certainly there’s violence in the Bible. And yes, it HAS been misused by individuals and whole societies to justify negative actions, all throughout Western history. But ultimately, the underlying message of the Bible is that God loves us, and we should love one another. And for every negative action the Bible has been used to justify, it has also inspired tremendous works of love and beauty, which have tremendously improved the world. Art, architecture, music, literature, universities, medicine, science, and many other fields have benefited — indeed, were often created — by those following the Bible. How many poems have been written, how many hospitals built, how many children educated, how many hungry and homeless orphans fed and cared for, because of the inspiration of the Bible?

          By contrast, how many sonnets has The Following inspired? How many hospitals have been built because of Stalker? Has Nip/Tuck inspired the construction of a cathedral, or even a freeway overpass? Where are the homeless people being fed thanks to Hannibal?

          This is what happens when you compare a work which literally changed the world with a sleazy TV show, created only to get people to watch commercials for beer and toilet paper.

          Christopher Gildemeister

    8. Ed Ggates
      April 3, 2015 at 11:42 am

      I think it is in poor taste to put someone like Charles Manson on a tv show.

    9. April 3, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Apparently today’s TV audiences are “desperate” for entertainment at the risk of contaminating the minds of innocent viewers. Those who promote sex, violence and murder have warped minds and should consider the harm that these programs create , especially in the heads and consciousness of tender young minds. These programs have a harmful effect on the quality of life and education of children, teens and young adults. Don’t allow programs such as Charles Manson to be developed, shown and damage your audiences.

    10. Janet
      April 3, 2015 at 7:59 am

      We need real heros shown. People that have done good and have endured. We have a lot of heroes. Why not focus on them. There is enough evil and hurt and pain. Let’s bring our children the good and the positive and the real life heroes. Real men and women who are amazing.

    11. Jean Wanek
      April 3, 2015 at 7:23 am

      I am SO tired of seeing more and more disgusting programming on TV. It seems you can’t turn on the TV anymore without seeing sex, gore and violence. Then we wonder why our world has become so violent. Also, I am wondering why people think that Charles Manson should be glorified in any way. He is a sick violent individual and deserves no recognition. Wake up America….decent people are tired of negative TV!

      • mary
        April 3, 2015 at 10:47 am

        I agree 100% with you. I won’t watch their awful programs. The more junk you show on TV the worse our people are getting.

      • Jenna Walton
        April 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm

        Yes, Yes, Yes !!!

    12. Rebecca
      April 3, 2015 at 6:43 am

      I think this is one of the worst decisions Hollywood has made. When they start portraying criminals as glorified and cool what is our society going to do but start thinking that somehow this is okay. What about the victims. Would these producers care if one of their family members was raped and murdered – would that somehow change things for these inhuman people?

    13. brandon johantges
      April 3, 2015 at 6:04 am

      David Duchovny was in X-Files also. Californication was not his only contribution to television.

    14. Viki
      April 3, 2015 at 6:03 am

      What a waste of time. Is there nothing in this world that is good, educational and beneficial to put on tv? Unfortunately, gruesome, violent and disgusting sells. But “professionals” still guarantee us that tv violence has nothing to do with violence on the streets and in our homes . . . Dream on. It’s catching up to us as a nation — as a world. Watch and see.

    15. Rita
      April 3, 2015 at 5:44 am

      I don’t think this needs to be on television. If people want to know about the Manson murders, there is a book written about it.. and assuming they can still read, that’s a good place to get information.. then they can read their bible, and pray for his sole.

    16. Linda Rivera
      April 3, 2015 at 5:30 am

      The very thought is disgusting, but what is very sad is that viewers would even watch it.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *