January 31, 2002

Major sporting events draw Americans together for enjoyment and patriotism. Why is NBC trying to draw Americans away from the Super Bowl with Playboy-themed ‘Fear Factor’ sideshow?

NEW YORK (31 January 2002) –-“Major sporting events can draw people together like no other form of TV entertainment.  The World Series did that last fall and also provided the nation with heartfelt displays of patriotism following the September 11thterrorist attacks.  But in its quest for ratings during the February sweeps month, NBC Entertainment is now ready to divide the Super Bowl audience by scheduling an episode of its repulsive ‘Fear Factor’ program with ‘Playboy’ centerfolds as contestants to compete with the Super Bowl halftime show,” said Morality in Media president Robert Peters.

“NBC knows that great sports can bring high ratings, because it will be broadcasting weeks of Winter Olympic coverage soon after the Super Bowl.  But before the glories of the Olympics, NBC Entertainment will be flopping in the programming sewer with this Sunday’s disgusting sideshow,” Peters said.

“It’s no secret that sex sells.  It’s also no secret that some football fans are meatheads who think the Fear Factor/Playboy combination is great,” said Peters, who was an All-Ivy, All-East tackle for the 1970 undefeated Dartmouth football team. “But most football fans aren’t meatheads. They love the game; they love their country; they also have too much respect for themselves and for women to flip the channel to NBC to ogle at Playboy playmates,” he said.

Peters also noted that, according to the N.Y. Post (“Porn again Playboy may still lose its shirt,” 1/11/2002), Playboy would be having difficult times financially without the revenue it gets from “hard-core movies” on cable TV.

“So here we have the spectacle of a broadcast TV network teaming up with a ‘hard-core’ porn distributor to deliver up sexually charged entertainment for the American people, including children, for a Sunday evening,” he said.

“Plainly, NBC is not listening to the American public. In a national FAMILY CIRCLE poll last spring, 77 percent of adults said there is a problem with sexual content on TV.  NBC is also not keeping its promise. In 1999, NBC programming executive Scott Sassa said that ‘sex for sex’s sake is not going to be a good thing…[sexual content] is going to have to be germane to the story line and not gratuitous’” (Broadcasting & Cable, 8/2/99), Peters said.

Author: MIM   01/31/2002

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