• NBC Boss: TV Needs More “Family” Shows

    by  • July 30, 2015 • Broadcast Decency, Family Friendly, Profanity, Sex, Television, Violence • 19 Comments


    NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt recently complained that there aren’t enough shows on TV that the entire family can enjoy together. A prime example of this trend are the programs on his his own network.    


    Robert Greenblatt seems a bit confused.

    Speaking recently in Rolling Stone, the chairman of NBC stated that TV needs more family-friendly programming. In fact, the network boss even  lamented that “uplifting movies that the entire family can enjoy together [are] a genre of programming that still seems largely untapped on television.”

    Undoubtedly, Greenblatt is right. But this begs the question: WHY are “uplifting” programs for “the entire family” “largely untapped?” 

    Why not ask Robert Greenblatt? Previously, the NBC chief defended horrifically gory programming like  the serial killer dramas Hannibal and Aquarius (the latter of which exploits the real-life crimes of the infamous, still-living mass murderer Charles Manson), and the rape-and-child-molester drama Law & Order: SVU with the claim that networks “have to be provocative and do things to surprise people.” (Apparently, “provocative” automatically equals “grotesquely violent.”)

    Of course, in today’s media climate, what would really “surprise people” is putting on inspirational, family-friendly programming. Greenblatt should know this — especially since Greenblatt himself has noted that NBC “used to be one of the most innovative, acclaimed networks in America.” That is true; under its president Grant Tinker, in the 1980s NBC brought Americans comedies like Cheers and Family Ties, and top-notch dramas like Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere — shows that actually appealed to the great mass of American families, not a tiny niche audience of sex-and-gore fanatics. 

    And a tiny niche audience is exactly who NBC’s current sex-and-gore output is appealing to…and Robert Greenblatt knows it. As the NBC chair admitted last year, the TV programs most acclaimed by those in Hollywood are


    little, tiny niche shows that we all think in our bubble of New York and LA, are massive, cultural game changers. In fact, my family in Indiana and Illinois have never heard of them. They didn’t get it. They didn’t care… The entire country, in spite of the fact that we live in a very liberal business, does not want to see lots of sexuality. They do not want to hear language. They do not want to see serial killers running around being the centerpieces of shows. They don’t watch those kinds of shows.


    It is the very nadir of hypocrisy for the chairman of a major broadcast network to complain about a lack of family-friendly entertainment on TV, when he himself has deliberately chosen to flood the public airwaves with graphic shows about rapists and serial killers. If Robert Greenblatt truly wants to change the fact that “uplifting” programming “that the entire family can enjoy together” is “largely untapped,” he might begin by looking in the mirror.



    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.

    19 Responses to NBC Boss: TV Needs More “Family” Shows

    1. jdavid
      September 1, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      I am disgusted when I watch the low level Disney television programming has evolved to over the years. I believe Walt Disney would be very sad to see the values and pure entertainment value of programs like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series replaced with shows like ‘Jessie’ and ‘Good Luck Charlie’ (happily no longer on). These shows promote treating family members with disrespect, bullying and humiliation. I record ‘Full House’ reruns and refuse to let my granddaughter watch these ‘mean-spirited’ shows. I continually point out to her that I find no humor watching family members treating each other mean and pullling awful pranks on each other to humiliate in front of school peers. The father dropping the baby on Good Luck Charlie down the stairs (and catching at last minute) was shown with a hysterical laugh track.

      But let’s not forget about Nickelodeon – On various episodes of ‘Victorious’ and ‘Sam and Cat’ you will find the characters slapping each other across the face (done repeatedly to Ariana Grande in one episode) as well as cutting chunks of each other’s hair – throwing food at one another and generally, just displays of violent treatment and humiliation in most episodes.

      These kids are role models. They are going to be selfish, disrespectful adults after working on these shows – and in for some big surprises when their actions are no longer backed up with laugh tracks. Unfortunately, in the meantime, young, impressionable children are watching these actions and thinking treating one another in such disturbing ways may be acceptable!

      Parents Television Council doesn’t seem to be making any impacts! Didn’t even know there was an organization.

    2. Pernell Harrison
      August 3, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Yes, I agree that NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and other major network executives, producers, directors, writers, actors/actresses and advertisers with the help of FCC and NAB must uphold “Family-friendly” wholesome programming for families to watch and enjoy together without the filth, sex, violence, swearing, blasphemy, etc. Today’s Television has really gone for enough!!! And we’re sick and tired of the negative materials over our TV airwaves!!! It’s time to clean up their acts and their airwaves!!!

      • Pernell Harrison
        August 3, 2015 at 10:41 am

        I mean, Today’s Television has really gone far enough!!!

        • moax429
          August 14, 2015 at 7:57 pm

          Unfortunately, we can thank (sarcastically speaking) Ronald Reagan for the dissolution of the NAB Television Code.

          The NAB is very much like the FCC today – passive and inactive. They *won’t* do anything.

    3. Don
      August 3, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Families are in trouble and need our help and prayers.

    4. Frank Cardillo Sr
      August 1, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Cannot watch TV without being embarrassed.We are offending God and damaging society. Let’s live and work responsibly.

    5. Nancy
      July 31, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      Please bring back wholesome tv…help uplift our culture. Greenblatt and and similarly minded friends, do look in the mirror …..you’re responsible to make a difference.

    6. Ruth L. Lavagnino
      July 31, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Please help us to raise our children responsibly. Provide more family-type programs. Otherwise, we will have to block your programs.

    7. beth gansner
      July 31, 2015 at 11:18 am

      TV needs more family-friendly shows.

    8. Faith Colburn
      July 31, 2015 at 10:52 am

      I agree that there isn’t enough family programming.

      • Pernell Harrison
        August 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

        I, too agree with your comments about we need more “Family-friendly” programming back! I agree all of you 100%!

    9. July 31, 2015 at 10:03 am

      There are hardly any programs on television now that are fit to watch. I watch nothing at night because of that. Please help get more family shows on.

      Not only are the shows are unfit but many of the commerials are unfit also.

      • Ron
        July 31, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        I agree with you totally. My wife and I don’t bother with cable or satellite, but have an antenna for area stations. We watch news programs, PBS stations sometimes, and stations that carry the old re-runs such as Dick Van Dyke, The Honeymooners, etc. We got tired trying to sort out any good programs from the trash. Maybe if enough would just start reading good books we’d all be better off.

      • Anon
        July 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        Agree 100%. We have stopped watching any shows other than sports. Even sports cannot be watched, without the R rated commercials (Carl’s Jr) popping up. It is a shame.

    10. CMarie
      July 31, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Really difficult to understand how so many speak out of both sides of their mouth. However, if one reads the Bible, it all becomes very clear as that exact verbiage is used regarding individuals of this world. Funny how so much (actually everything) is spelled out in God’s Word about human nature, yet, too many find no interest in reading and learning in order to perhaps make us a better people. Money is NOT the root of all evil, too many say that and mislead. Money can do many good things when we give it away to help others. The LOVE of money is the root because it becomes an obsession and with that obsession the light is dimmed and self is glorified which means all these programming programs with lust are for one purpose, and that is what is destroying us.

    11. RLG
      July 31, 2015 at 8:15 am

      ABSOLUTELY TV Needs More “Family” Shows!!!

    12. Nancy
      July 31, 2015 at 8:08 am

      I agree 100 percent

      • Ruthanne
        July 31, 2015 at 6:55 pm

        Why don’t they try to bring back the old family friendly shows by remaking them and preserving their decency.

      • janice hoeschler
        August 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm


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