Won't someone think of the children? Well, someone is, and they're pissed off at television.
The Parents Television Council has released the results of its latest look into the state of network prime-time television programming, and according to the nonprofit, TV is plagued with potty-mouths, soaked in sexually charged innuendo, and gushing with gratuitous violence.
The conservative group, which says its mission is "to promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry," was scathing in its criticism of "family hour" programming. In a statement, PTC president Tim Winter said, "Our study clearly demonstrates that corporate interests have hijacked the Family Hour from families." Winter continued, "Shockingly, [the PTC's findings] shows that parents cannot trust what is on during the so-called Family Hour for even a minute."
The study looked at last season's programming (shows that aired in 2006 and 2007), and found that almost 90 percent of the 208 shows examined contained what the group calls objectionable content. It also claims that instances of profanity, violence, or sexual content occur once every three-and-a-half minutes during the first hour of prime time.
Which network is corrupting our children the most, according to the PTC? Hands down it's Fox, which at 20.78 instances of objectionable content each hour more than doubles its nearest competitor. The single worst show in the study was Fox's American Dad, with an average of 52 objectionable instances per hour.
On the other side of the spectrum, The CW was named "cleanest programming overall," and the PTC approved Deal or No Deal, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, Identity, and Grease: You're the One That I Want as "best overall due to lack of foul language, violence, and sexual content."
Individual leaders of controversial material include NBC's My Name is Earl with 16 instances of foul language per hour, Fox's The War at Home with 33 "sexual depictions of references" per hour, and Fox's 24 with "a whopping 28 occurrences of violence" per hour. The PTC did not explain its guidelines for what it counted as violent, sexual, or profane.
When compared to programming from 2001-2002, sexual references and violence rose 22 percent and 52 percent, respectively, whereas uncensored foul language actually dropped.
"The Family Hour needs to be restored," Winter said. "We are calling on the broadcast industry to return to the time-honored principle of airing mature-themed content only at later times of the evening; and to provide parents with a consistent, objective, and meaningful content-ratings system."
For the complete results of the study, head over to the official home page of the PTC.