• “Darkness Has Settled Over American Television”

    by  • June 11, 2015 • Television • 9 Comments

    Coleman Luck is a Hollywood screenwriter, television producer, and a member of the PTC’s Advisory Board. Recently, Luck discussed the current state of TV – and the fact that television writers almost never consider the effect their stories may have on the audience.
    As Luck wrote to PTC President Tim Winter:

    “I have a lot of sympathy for writers and producers in network television because that’s where I spent most of my career.  I created several series and was what is called a ‘showrunner.’  That’s the person responsible for all the creative activity on a TV series.  The pressure and stress levels are amazing.  In Hollywood, it’s understood that few writers can handle the job.  I’ve employed many Hollywood writers and know how they work.  One thing is certain, when they are creating stories and writing scripts almost never do they think about the effect of those TV episodes on the audience. You write hoping people will like it, that’s all.  There’s so little time to think of anything else. What you write comes out of who you are.

    Over the past decades, a kind of darkness has settled over much of the storytelling in American television and it is having a deep  effect on the audience.  Never has the work of PTC been more important, first, by asking those who produce and air programs to think about the children and young people who will experience their creations, and, second, when they refuse to have any moral concern, to bring other pressures to bear.    PTC stands alone in this vital work and I stand with them.  I hope you will as well.”



    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.

    9 Responses to “Darkness Has Settled Over American Television”

    1. John S
      June 19, 2015 at 7:15 am

      “Over the past decades, a kind of darkness has settled over much of the storytelling in American television and it is having a deep effect on the audience.”

      Each Sunday at 4:00 PM in the afternoon “Naked and Afraid” airs on the Discovery Channel. This is a show under the genera “Family and Kids” where married mothers and fathers are required to take off their wedding rings, strip naked and sleep in the nude with someone else’s spouse for 21 days. Below is a list of the advertisers.

      If you think it doesn’t get more depraved than this , think again. Now A&E is breaking the law by paying couples to commit adultery. Not only are the story lines sick. The media is directly intervening in family’s , driving a wedge between husband and wife and destroying the lives of innocent children.

      We ended apartheid with economic warfare and this is the only way we will save our kids.

      John Stewart

      Partial List of Advertisers on Naked and Afraid

      Burger King
      Direct TV
      Golden Corall
      Olive Garden
      Capital One

    2. Gayle
      June 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Christopher I appreciate your work but what are you doing besides writing these articles (preaching to the choir so to speak)? What are you doing to reach those TV writers/producers/network executives? What can we do to make PTC EFFECTIVE?

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        June 15, 2015 at 9:22 am


        I’m glad you asked!

        The PTC is engaged with these issues on a number of levels…but far more importantly, we help YOU be engaged! If you want your message to be heard by Hollywood, here are a couple of options:

        PTC’s Broadcast Indecency campaign urges networks using the publicly-owned airwaves to act more responsibly.
        You can contact the networks here. To file a complaint about program content with the Federal Communications Commission, click here.

        To ask Congress to help support our rights as consumers and give us Cable Choice, so that we’re not forced to pay for hundreds of networks we never watch, click here.

        Our Advertiser Accountability program lets you contact the sponsors of these shows, whose ad dollars make the programs possible. To let a sponsor know you don’t appreciate the programming they’re supporting — and to tell them it may influence which products you purchase in the future — click here.

        If you’re tired of girls being sexualized by the media and fashion industry, sign our petition here.

    3. June 12, 2015 at 10:13 am

      We need to get behind the GOOD producers and writers – Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider, Matt Fleckenstein, and Scott Fellows. And the Christians in front of the camera – like Disney’s Olivia Holt, Piper Curda, Nickelodeon’s Amber Montana, Breanna Yde. If we are to reclaim Hollywood for family television, these people are out there on the front lines doing everything they can to produce and star in good, clean family entertainment like we had in the 60′s.

    4. Les
      June 12, 2015 at 7:40 am

      Glad to see that someone is concerned about the content of our TV programs. The new programs are the crappiest form of entertainment in the world.
      None have any moral character anymore. Please give us back some decent programs. Little house, wagon train, funny face, Angels anything except the garbage we get now.
      My TV is tuned to the Hallmark channel most of the time now.

      • Daniel Belgrave
        June 14, 2015 at 9:14 am

        This story is fantastic, however TBN and Daystar is safest and cleanest most of the time now.

    5. Anne McDonald
      June 12, 2015 at 7:15 am

      As a television viewer, I guess I have a hard time understanding how writers never think about the effect their writing has on us. Don’t any of the writers or producers have families? Don’t they ever think about whether their own children could watch their work?

    6. Phyllis Bove
      June 12, 2015 at 5:30 am

      My husband and I are senior citizens, and we’re so saddened by current television programming. We have no children or grandchildren to be concerned about, but my heart breaks for what is put out there as kids’ entertainment. It seems that the sitcoms all have snappy, sassy come-backs, sexual innuendo, a lack of respect for the next person, and, I might add, not very talented actors/actresses. Most of my prime time tv viewing is spent watching Fox News, Fox Business or PBS. Will excellence ever return? Thank you for this opportunity to express my views.

      • Pat Janssen
        June 22, 2015 at 9:35 pm

        Phyllis, you are not alone at feeling helpless and sad at what is being pushed as entertainment. Most seniors I talk to feel the same way. There are not many programs that we can watch without feeling totally embarrassed. Even the advertisements are terrible! It makes us sick to our stomachs!

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