We're Not in Kansas Anymore

TV Fantasy Study

Children are innately attracted to entertainment with fantasy or fairy-tale themes. In recent years, America’s broadcast networks have featured a number of programs with such themes, but which included content that made the programs inappropriate and unsafe for child viewers.

In this study, the PTC examined fantasy-themed prime-time programming on the major broadcast networks during November, February, and May “sweeps” periods from 2011- present. Programs examined were Grimm, Emerald City (NBC), Sleepy Hollow (Fox), and Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and The Muppets (ABC).

( Scroll down for video examples Play Video )

In its research, the PTC found:

  • In fantasy-based programming with particular appeal to children, young viewers were exposed to 625 profanities, 300 deaths, and over 1,000 incidents of violence.
  • The most violent program was NBC’s Grimm. Young viewers witnessed 485 acts of violence, including 165 deaths, 22 instances of dismemberment, and 12 decapitations. Also featured were instances of evisceration, cannibalism, dissection, crucifixion, impalement, and torture. They also heard 316 profanities.
  • Fox’s Sleepy Hollow featured frequent, explicit, and gory beheadings in slow-motion, eviscerations, immolations, and mutilated and dismembered corpses, with 15 instances of decapitation, 80 deaths, and nearly 300 acts of violence.
  • NBC’s series Emerald City featured 49 total instances of violence, including instances of crucifixion and torture; and an explicit scene in which a female character sexually pleasured the Tin Man character with her hand, using an oily lubricant.
  • Violence on the Disney-owned ABC network programs Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland included a combined 306 instances of violence and 41 deaths. Also heard were 178 profanities – especially disturbing since these series were based on popular Disney fairytale movies like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Brave, and Frozen. Both ABC series were rated TV-PG.
  • While violence was not an issue on ABC/Disney’s The Muppets, the program did feature profanity, depictions and references to alcohol and drug use, and multiple references to sex. This show was rated TV-PG. 

See Full Study with Executive Summary, Findings, and Examples

See Press Release

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