Despite its failure with the American public, the Hollywood trade press has been applauding Scream Queens. But does it belong on the public airwaves at 7 o’clock Central/Mountain?
Fox’s new series Scream Queens is an alleged parody of horror films – though this parody has all the actual horror intact. As we’ve noted elsewhere, the first episode was loaded with gore, as well as bigoted dialogue.
As the Wall Street Journal has noted, Fox’s Scream Queens has lead fall TV season in “buzz.” Dozens of media outlets have hyped their approval of the ultra-violent and mean-spirited show, among them USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Deadline: Hollywood, E! Online, MTV.com, People magazine, andThe Huffington Post.
Yet not even those outlets which seemed less charmed with the series, like The Atlantic or Time magazine, mentioned the most salient point about this explicitly bloody horror series: the fact that it airs on the broadcast airwaves at 8:00 p.m. Eastern – only 7:00 p.m. Central/Mountain.
This hour of prime time used to be known as the “Family Hour.” Obviously, even the most stringent parents aren’t sending their children to bed at 7 p.m. So how does the Fox broadcast network imagine this is a perfect time for airing violence more appropriate to an R-rated movie?
Furthermore, Fox is a broadcast network. It isn’t cable or satellite, where those seeing the program are paying for it, and are choosing on some level to let it into their home. For nearly a century, it has been settled law that the airwaves are owned by the public, not by the networks…and that those who are allowed to use them free of charge must do so “in the public interest.” What “public interest” is being served by Fox blasting extreme gore and racist dialogue into every home in America? True, most viewers no longer make a distinction between “broadcast” and “pay” TV – but Fox should. Or does the network feel it is no longer bound by the law, and can do whatever it likes?
The answer to the last question is obvious. Clearly, Fox does think it can get away with anything – including pushing R-rated gore into every living room in America, at times when even the youngest children are watching.
One has to wonder: where are the reporters, who are usually so quick to challenge “entrenched interests” and “big corporations” for flouting the law? And why aren’t they – why isn’t ANYONE – at least asking the question, “Is 7 p.m. really the best time for Scream Queens to be shown on TV?”