On Tuesday, March 8th, ABC will debut a new miniseries based on Old Testament stories called “Of Kings and Prophets.” But this miniseries will be nothing like the 2013 Mark Burnett and Roma Downey-produced “The Bible” miniseries that broke ratings records when it aired on the History Channel. Instead, “Of Kings and Prophets” has been compared — by its own showrunner — to HBO’s sex and violence-drenched “Game of Thrones.” “It’s suspenseful. It’s extraordinarily violent,” says Chris Brancato. “It’s sexual. … We’ve sought to make the show modern…This is a non-dragon version of Game of Thrones.”
At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Brancato also boasted, “These stories are violent and sex-drenched. We’re going to go as far as we can…we’ll be fighting with broadcast standards and practices.” Some of the content will be so explicit, Brancato said, that it may not even air on television, but will only be available online, where there are fewer restrictions.
The PTC has already reached out to over 200 of the nation’s top TV sponsors to alert them to Brancato’s plans to make “Of Kings and Prophets” one of the most sexually explicit and graphically violent series ever to air on broadcast television, urging them to carefully weigh whether association with this series will help or harm the hard-earned loyalty of consumers.
TV shows that are filled with sex and violence will only remain on the public airwaves as long as advertisers are willing to sponsor them. We urge companies to use caution when considering whether or not to advertise on this show, especially if the show’s content is comparable to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Recent studies have demonstrated that television advertisers risk harming their brand and their ability to influence buying decisions when they put their sponsorship dollars behind programs saturated in sex and violence. One meta-analysis from Ohio State University found that advertising on such programs decreases advertising effectiveness. Advertisers have a big and important responsibility to the program’s viewers: what they sponsor allows programs to remain on the air, for better or worse. Without advertisers, TV shows do not exist.
It is our sincere hope that advertisers take heed and choose to put their sponsorship dollars towards programming that isn’t saturated with sex and violence and which could harm children.
We will let you know which companies are proud to pay for graphic sex and violence as the series unfolds in the coming weeks.