It’s long past time to let the broadcast networks compete on a level playing field with cable and pay cable networks. The censorship restrictions on free TV are part of what’s slowly strangling their ability to do quality, mature programming.
About 90% of the viewers in the US are seeing the networks via cable, which of course they have to pay for. So why should broadcast TV be singled out for pointless content restrictions that hamper its ability to attract the largest audiences?
Make no mistake about it. The overall quality of scripted entertainment in this country depends on the networks continuing investment in very expensive programming. Reruns of those programs are the bulk of what fills the cable-only networks.
So why aren’t they allowed to show a little skin or say some “dirty” words? Because they also operate broadcast TV stations that have a federal license? Britain has somehow survived despite the fact that their commercial networks program adult themes at night when the kiddies are presumably asleep.
Cable, which as noted serves 90% of TV viewers, carries all sorts of stuff that parents might not want their kids to see. That’s why cable systems all offer parental controls which can be used to keep youngsters from watching inappropriate content using the programming rating system.
There’s lots of stuff on cable, including X-rated pay adult programming, that kids could see if they’re not supervised. There’s a lot more and worse stuff on the Internet. Parents who are worried have tools which they can use to filter both TV and the Internet.
Given this ability to control viewing, which is the responsibility of the parents, it’s time for the FCC to stop being big brother and get out of the program censorship business.