01/26/06 — TV doesn’t get it: Viewers need to speak out about offensive programming

View Archive

TV doesn’t get it: Viewers need to speak out about offensive programming

Some television executives and the producer of the show seem to be absolutely flabbergasted as to why Americans are not ecstatic about NBC’s newest show, “The Book of Daniel.”

The show is based on the story of an Episcopal priest whose family is anything but normal. In fact, they are practically a recitation of every sin in the book from drug dealing and adultery to alcohol abuse.

And that is only the beginning. The main character talks regularly to “Jesus,” who appears in a variety of rather unusual places to offer his perspective on life and the situations the priest’s family faces.

The show’s producer says his creation is edgy, and is imploring viewers to give it a chance because it is merely a depiction of a family.

Much of NBC’s audience just thinks the show is blasphemous and offensive.

In fact in one city, according to an Associated Press report, viewers shut down the mailbox of their local television station protesting the show’s airing — and that was in addition to numerous e-mail, regular mail and other complaints.

And just this week, NBC has decided to pull “The Book of Daniel” off the schedule.

The problem these days with Hollywood is that those who run it don’t seem to get that this nation has a deep respect for spiritual life. Even the runaway success of the series “Touched by an Angel” did not seem to get the message across that many viewers want to feel good about what they watch on television — and that they like their dramas, but shows with heart are often among the most popular.

There will always be less-than-appealing shows on TV; “Fear Factor” comes to mind. And there will continue to be foul language, graphic sexual references and violent content on late evening TV — as long as viewers indicate that it is acceptable.

But there is no reason why we, as viewers, cannot send a message to New York and Los Angeles once in a while that we pay the bills and that there are certain lines we do not want crossed.

“The Book of Daniel” might be gone, but there are plenty more shows to complain about waiting in the wings. As Hollywood unveils the rest of its new offerings, changing the tone of what is on TV and eliminating the offensive material will really be in the hands of those who are watching.

If we don’t want to watch it or if we want it toned down, we have to speak up.

Published in Editorials on January 26, 2006 10:04 AM