• CBS’ Gives Stalker Full-Season Order

    by  • October 29, 2014 • Broadcast Decency, Violence • 6 Comments

    CBS has rewarded it’s ultra-violent torture porn series Stalker – by ordering more episodes of the show, enough to fill out the season.cbsclogo

    As reported by Deadline: Hollywood, CBS has given full-season orders to all of its fall series that have premiered so far, including Stalker – this, in spite of the show’s horrific content. 

    At the beginning of the fall season, professional TV critics greeted Stalker with rave reviews like the following:

    Hank Steuver, The Washington Post: “Unsparing with both its grisliness    and its deeply negative regard for human nature.”

    Diane Werts, Newsday: “All about the women-in-terror kick…Reprehensible.”

    Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times: “Unforgivable…violence,  creepiness and depravity appear to be the point.”

    Maureen Ryan, The Huffington Post: “A putrid, badly-written crapfest packed with violence against women…Exploitative, misogynist trash.”

    Matt Roush, TV Guide: “TV really doesn’t get much uglier or more cynical than CBS’s Stalker.

    Before its season premiere on October 1st, the PTC issued a warning about the program, alerting viewers to the unbelievably graphic, anti-woman violence present in the episode. In the show’s first two minutes, a masked, hooded man chases his former girlfriend and splashes gasoline on her. The woman locks herself in her car, whereupon the stalker douses the car and sets it on fire, with the woman being murdered in a fiery explosion. PTC President Tim Winter pointed out that

    “Our country is mired in a national dialogue about shocking levels of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Entertainment that is saturated with violence against women – or violence against any person for that matter – will only foment such horrific, real-life conduct. Airing such material on primetime broadcast television is grossly irresponsible… Tonight, CBS and 200 of its affiliated stations around the nation will use the public airwaves ostensibly for ‘torture porn.’ How does that serve the public interest, as mandated by every broadcast license issued to CBS stations by the FCC? It doesn’t.”

    Nor has the program improved. In just the first four episodes, Stalker has shown a stalker holding a woman in the empty gym at night, duct tape on her mouth and wrists. The stalker tapes her to an exercise bike and pours gas all over her and himself, then slowly strikes a match. A policeman arrives and shoots the stalker in the chest, causing him to drop the match and light himself on fire (October 1, 2014); a woman bloodily shot down by a sniper during her own wedding procession (October 15, 2014); and a stalker who preys on his victims’ phobias, including fear of the dark, snakes, and drowning, then masturbates to videos of their reactions (October 22, 2014).

    Predictably, CBS has rated each episode as appropriate for 14-year-old viewers. And now, the network has guaranteed the show will be on for the rest of the season. With all of the accumulated evidence showing that violent TV desensitizes viewers to real-life violence, it would be nice if CBS exercised some leadership and chose not to show programs like Stalker. But then, ever-more extreme content is the name of the game in today’s entertainment industry.



    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.

    6 Responses to CBS’ Gives Stalker Full-Season Order

    1. brandon johantges
      November 10, 2014 at 2:58 am

      How is this show any different from “The Following” or “Criminal Minds” I mean some of these plots are ripped straight from “Criminal Minds”. So why are you guys getting all huffy about this show but not those other 2. Also all TV shows now have some form of hyper-violence what makes “Stalker” so special?

    2. November 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Where is the FCC?

    3. Vicki
      November 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Who gives CBS the right to show violence against women other than the ones that create it……men themselves. Disgusting program that I would not waste one minute to watch.

      • JP
        November 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

        You’re honestly taking this to the extreme. Stalker is one of the best shows on television. It exposes a part of our society, that people like you, try and sweep under the rug. If you actually took the time to watch it, you’d know that both women AND men become victims in the show.

        PTC is making accusations that the show is ‘sexist against women’, but yet you’re stereotyping all men as creators of violence. I think your views are a little contradictory, my friend and perhaps you have too much time on your hands….

        • Christopher Gildemeister
          November 10, 2014 at 11:51 am


          If you read the blog post, you’ll know that the PTC is hardly the only one “making accusations that the show is sexist against women.”

          As for Stalker being “one of the best shows on television” because “it exposes a part of our society that people…try and sweep under the rug,” well, hey! How about an hour-long weekly drama about the Ku Klux Klan? Or glorifying the Holocaust?

          Just because something happens in real life doesn’t mean there needs to be a TV show about it…especially at times when kids may be watching.

    4. Joseph
      October 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      This seems to be an impossible task. I am retired and work part-time with some nice kids in their 20,s, but you can see they are already desencitized to the violence and vulgarity. Their parents need to do a better job as this only works from the ground up.

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