One of the major problems with the TV Content Ratings System is the fact that the same networks that create graphic shows also pick which rating their own shows get. An excerpt from a recent piece in The New York Times shows the kind of “oversight” the networks use in rating their own programs.
During a New York Times interview with Robert King, creator/producer of CBS’ Sunday-night drama The Good Wife, King revealed the following:
NYT: “What was it like having to hew to broadcast network Standards and Practices?”
ROBERT KING: “There is a problem Standards and Practices has with thrusting…We would have to delicately go around problems of thrusting in pretend-sex that anybody would have. We’d even have to morph images because we wouldn’t get a take that was clean of thrusting. But it was kind of amazing how much CBS let us do. The first episode of the second season was about oral sex.”
The same broadcast network that properly shows restraint in depictions of intercourse – particularly on a a drama that airs at 9:00 p.m. ET (only 8:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones), and is consistently rated appropriate for teens – then considers an entire episode “about oral sex” acceptable.
The PTC is calling for the TV Content Ratings to be accurate, transparent, publicly accountable, and consistent. As well as anything, King’s statement shows the utter lack of consistency among the network employees who assign content ratings – and demonstrates the need for Ratings Reform.