Spielberg calls for responsible TV

Steven Spielberg urged TV networks to be mindful of what they show on the air because of the effect it might have on children, and said programs like CSI and Heroes were too gruesome.

"Today we are needing to be as responsible as we can possibly be, not just thinking of our own children but our friends' and neighbors' children," Spielberg told an audience Monday at the International Emmys board of directors meeting here.

Spielberg decried on-air promotions for television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation that showed "blood and people being dissected." He also said that when his favorite TV show of the new season, NBC's Heroes, showed someone cut in half in the 9 p.m. hour, he sent his younger children out of the room.

"I'm a parent who is very concerned," he said.

Spielberg said that the TV landscape was much more "homogenized" 20 years ago, even seven or eight years ago. One of his shows, ER, wouldn't have been on the air 20 years ago because of its graphic depictions.

Two of Spielberg's movies, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, have generated controversy during their television airings with uncut language and graphic depictions. But Spielberg has also made a famous edit to the DVD release of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, where a government agent wielded a gun in the original film but held a walkie-talkie in the DVD.

In a free-ranging hour of interview with former NBC News correspondent Garrick Utley and questions from the audience, Spielberg said iPod video may be all the rage, but count his films out from being tailored to fit the small screen.

"That's one medium where I have to draw the line," he said. "We'll shoot for television and the movies and let there be a wide gap" between that and the small three-inch screen. He also said that he felt that people are social animals who will choose to go out to a movie rather than watch a show on widescreen.

"I don't think movie theaters will ever go away," Spielberg said.

But the producer-director who got his start in TV directing Joan Crawford for a 1969 episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery isn't lacking for work on screens of any kind. He's developing a 10- or 11-hour miniseries about the US war against Japan in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, part of the 20 percent of his time that he estimated he worked on TV projects compared with 80 percent for films.

He called working on miniseries "the most fun I have" and especially liked the ability to develop characters. He pointed to HBO's Band of Brothers, which developed characters over hours rather than the eight to 10 minutes that he said was available in a two-hour feature film.

Another project is On the Lot, a Mark Burnett-Spielberg TV series that will choose one of 16 aspiring filmmakers for a development deal with DreamWorks, Spielberg's studio. It will air on Fox. And of course there's another film coming in the Indiana Jones series, which Spielberg was relatively mum about.

"There's still life in the series," Spielberg said.

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Why are network channels the focus of this tirade? Cable is in many households, but why does no one complain about Comedy Central; about the Cartoon Network???

This would seem less hypocritical to me if Steven Spielberg did not direct "Saving Private Ryan." "SPR" is the most violent, gory film I have ever seen.

Spielberg seems to have a hangup about our youth seeing certain movies on TV, but does he not understand that almost any youngster can walk into a "Family Video" and arrange a membership on his parent's name [without his parents' consent] and rent anything except the porn in the back room? Saving Private Ryan is considered a classic, so it's ultimately okay to view, and age restrictions are loose. Denying someone a "classic" is like working in a library and telling a kid he can't check out "To Kill A Mockingbird." It's nigh sacrelegious.

Let's arrange this differently, how many 14 year-olds do you know that can order pay-per-view movies on their cable/satellite? If Dad came home and found "Captain Hooker and Peter Porn" on his statement, he'd be freaking out . . . right? Sure he would, but what if he found "Saving Private Ryan" on his cable statement. He sees the magazines, he knows that this movie won big awards . . . how mad can he be at "junior" when he's watching a supposdely exceptional, award-winning movie?

If Spielberg has an issue with youth watching inappropriate material, then maybe he should stop producing/directing material inappropriate for the audience he seems to want to protect. Maybe he should start producing/directing "Curious George" and "Harriet the Spy," instead of making movies that show peoples' heads being ripped off their bodies in combat.

r.

Just because ABC airs it, that doesn't mean that Dr. Phil says it's appropriate for 7 year-old consumption. Why is it that ineffective parents assume that "since it's on TV, it must be ok?" For a an analogy, you could say, "Well, since I eat tomatoes and onions, that means that everything that grows is okay to eat!" Chow down on some nightshade, or maybe some holly berries. Oh wait, let's have a buffet of poison ivy! That will definitely prove your point!

r.
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Are you crazy? If you are watching a show like that, then of course it is doing to be gruesome. Don't let your kid watch it if you don't want them to see it. I like shows and movies that are have gore in it. If they say that viewer discretion is advised then don't let your kid watch it. We should be able to watch what we want, the way we want it. It is just showing what is true, In CSI, people get cut open and shot and what not, it's the truth and your kids are going to have to face it sooner or later.
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The CSI stars are thinking he crazy bad talking the show they are in. I think he is crazy. CSI is about solving murders and other crimes. Steven Spielberg should know that dead bodies are bloody and gross looking!! he should let his kids wathc a show if the kid is under the rating
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It should be up to the parents what their kids are watching, plain and simple. It should be the right of the networks to air any information they want. The entire idealism of the Federal Communications Commission is unconstitutional. It is a direct violation of the first amendment of freedom of speech and press. It shouldn't be the job of the government to keep track of what its citizens view in anyway, it should be the responsibility of the children's parents.

Spielberg is a hypocrite, plain and simple, and this article states the fact.
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greenlightfox I think the majority of the people who watch most of those shows are 12-18 years old. Most highschool kids have been exposed to alot worse stuff sex and drugs wise just by going to school.
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Its the way TV has been since Vietnam.

Networks were all to happy to be airing facts of close combat on News at 5.

Now things are tad different since then. Since a 3 network reign, 80%+ of the nation now has at least 60 channels to choose from. They have to "wow" people to tune in. Technology is cheaper & budgets are bigger.

Before i write a massive article on Speilberg and his double face antics, I also agree kids shouldn't see the gore until 9, when they are in bed.
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Here's what I think: when I was little my bed time was 8-9 in elementary(on weekdays). I didn't have a tv in my room. Now I'm in Highschool, my bedtime err..curfew is 10 (or whenever). When I was little I was aware of shows like CSI and Crossing Jordan or the LAO's but could never watch them. My parent's kept control in order for me to have enough sleep.That is the reason why CSI, Heroes and other show like them are at 9 and 10.
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Lost,CSI,24,Heroes,House and a lot of other tv network shows are not for kids. Any way elementary kids need to be in bed at 8pm so they can get up for school the next day. besides Heroes and CSI are made for poeple age 18 and up
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Death2009, I don't think anyone was suggesting a mandatory bedtime for children. That user was just saying its irresponsible for parents to not keep control of their children. Your comments were really off base. everyone is entitled to their opinion and simply because you don't like what they said doesn't mean you should insult them.
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Mr. Spielberg can always turn off his TV. If a kid is too young to see a TV show at 9pm then maybe they should be in bed by then. I believe kids should be in bed before 9pm.
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watchmedie85 get off your high horse please, I wasn't attacking. The fact is she nor anybody else has the right to dictate when somebody should put their kids to bed. That is why I didn't like her comment, just because her kids go to bed at that hour doesn't mean all kids of all ages should.
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Death2009. First of all dont attack someones comment then bandstand about the American people. Thats quite the hard right wing venue that doesnt work. And I'm a Repub!



Second, dont you agree kids should be in bed at an early hour? Or at least winding down without TV? And whats the point of putting ratings on shows and stating before the show starts contains graphic violence. Restricting freedom on TV is taking away the rights of the TV companies and directors and writers to create something amazing. Should we also restrict the internet?? Because of course a kid could stumble onto a porn site (like there isnt 8 million of those). And do you recall that you can now watch these episodes online?? Soon internet will be mandated, TV, radio. What next? What we think during the day? If its somewhat evil or against the law will we be imprisoned? Mostly like a Minority Report of sorts.



Keep an eye on your kids! Yeah, single parents are more pervasive in this country and theres always two parents that have to make ends meet so they are always working. But should we pay for it because you cant make it work and your kid cant be watched at all times?? NO! Get a VChip, hide your tv, disconnect the wires. Whatever you have to do. Just dont water down shows to appease people.
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I can see where he is coming from, about some shows showing two much. But it does not bother me,

because there are many things you can do.

1- If you dont like the show, change the channel.

2- Parental Locks.

3- Don't put a tv in your kids rooms.

4- Follow the ratings, and when a show gives a disclaimer i.e.(some CSI and Law & Order episodes) it is probably not something a very young child should watch. If they do a parent should be with the child, and change the channel if necesacary. there are many other things you can do.

The more they "water down" our entertainment the worse it will get.

Not every show can be "The Brady Bunch" if it was people would just turn their tv's off.

(note: I was just comming up with a popular clean television show..No offence was intended twards fans of ot those associated with the show.)
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Don't tv shows have ratings? If your child is watching a show thats TV-14, don't expect it to be kid appropriate.
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What does being in the Film industry have to do with telling America what to show on television. I think it's up to the parents to monitor what their children watch, with technologies such as the V chip this has gotten that much simpler. Fantasy blood may not be good for children to witness, but 9 pm is fairly late for a child to be watching TV. However the 6 O'clock news shows real death and talks of atrocities in reality that children are easily witness to. Limiting what can be on television will only stifle us as a culture, we have to watch our children and teach them the difference between fantasy and reality.
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ppnoel its not your right to dictate when all Kids go to bed. Skerit, all I have to say to you is that is not only blind spam but completely intolerant and pointless garbage! How old are you? I suggest you not post anywhere for 8 years.



Speilberg is right, and unlike you people he actually has experience in the industry. Now we REAL AMERICANS have some respected back up! Thank God for that man!
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Young children should be sleeping in their beds when CSI & Heroes is on. My kids went to bed at 8:00 p.m. on all school nights. Get your youngsters to bed on time, Mr. Spielberg, and it won't be a problem.
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Sometimes, shows need a little bit of violence to get the story progressing, but some shows show way too much violance.
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Spielberg is being too paranoid about this, these shows have TV ratings for a reason (TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA) they are shows made for older audiences and if you don't want to introduce kids to those shows then send them to another room or get another TV for them to watch more family friendly stuff on on videos. And heck, many stuff aimed at kids has some dark stuff like guns and such, and I feel sometimes it's nessicary to introduce that a little toi kids to show them some of the darker sides of the world and be prepared for it, like the show Gargoyles did IMO.
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Yes I agree that Spielberg has every right to make this request. Too many shows are pushing the enevelope with their hidden and obvious agendas and it is about time someone stood up to them. I have children and we have the right to be mindful of what is brought into our living rooms when they are in the house.
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I think Spielsberg was being responsible when he told his children to leave. Why is everyone hating on him? The man has an opinion, which most parents happen to agree with, that it is very hard to find good clean family programming on tv these days. Did he call for government regulation? No, he did not.
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yeah his little right and tv get worst every year ok 8 to 11pm is for big people but i am saying that tv uses to be good with good shows and less nude on tv and less sex on tv. come on sex in the city was on hbo and now is on tbs and my new network and wgn and more. so i was the tv control i change some things around one is find how many channels there. then second is find how season did each show made on tv for example find shows that went for one season put them togather and same 2 , 3, 4 , 5 and on and find what got more season mean how pouplar each show like friends went for 10 rugrats 10 and more. thrid is find what shows that air that channel like this we got the list of all the channels then we find what shows air on abc then they put in with the abc and then nbc and fox and more same disneychannel how many shows did disneychannel made. if there is channel that did not made any shows on that channel like for example toondisney there was no shows air on that is just back up mean they air what shows disney made. so when that is done they start thinking about there is 24 hours a day that mean they can air 24 shows each hour and there is 48 block meaning there can air 48 shows that run for 30 mins if they can they do with 15 mins a espisode that we be lot of blocks to air shows on every 30 mins. that what i will do because look at the tv u are watching one is u see so much shows and sometime u miss them and second they air shows on many channel for example friends was on nbc and fox and then wb and then tbs and then my new network and then nick at nite so what channel do i really it on. i hate when they air one show on many channels like law and order and others. so steven speilberg is right.
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Why was he allowing his kids to watch 9:00/TV14 shows anyways? I think the irresponsibility is on his part.
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Spielberg needs to get a life. Yeah, Heroes is gory, but its also like the best show on TV plus it has the best ratings of all new shows this fall. Speilberg needs shut his mouth because he's acting like a whiny little housewife. If the show is too gruesome, then make sure that its appropriate for your kids. Dont go and say that this show needs to be less gruesome and try and shut down Heroes. BECAUSE HEROES IS AWESOME. Dont ruin this show because spielberg cant stand a little blood, because if they do listen to this idiot, Heroes will turn into "teen titans" and Justice League or the wiggles. BUY PARENTAL CONTROL FOR GOD'S SAKE STEVEN! shuting down heroes for being too gruesome is like shutting down Ugly Betty because she's too ugly. GOD STEVEN, MAN UP AND DONT WHINE TO EVERYONE.
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Speilberg is full of crap if he has his way the only thing that will be on tv is Sesame Street. Some shows are directed at the older market and its the parents responsiblity to know whats suitable for there children.
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all the violence is the best part and every show is clearly rated, I mean shows like 24 are clearly about killing and violence, so it's no big surprise when Jack kills people
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I definately do agree about the commercials.

Also, while I love violent shows (like 24) I do agree that unexpected gore in shows like Heroes can be a bit unneccessary. For example, the episode Spielberg cited was mostly appropriate for younger viewers- except that we suddenly ran across a body cut in half. Also, if the death was less gruesome, I don't feel the show would have suffered any.
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This whole issue is a two way street. The nets have a responsibility to air "adult" content shows at appropriate times and with cautionary warnings. It's the parents responsibility to monitor what their children watch and if their children should see something they feel is inappropriate they should talk to their children about it. Parents ultimately have responsibility for their children, trying to put this off on others is a sad statement about the state of our society. Regardless of what I feel about Spielberg as a film maker at least he seems to care about his children.
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What spaci said, it's the parents job to monitor waht their kids watch and the studios jobs to put out kid freindly commercials.
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As many others have said, I do think that the main responsibility here is that of the parent to keep the children away from tv which is not age-appropriate. To the best of my recollection, both Heroes and CSI are rated at least TV14, so if he chooses to let younger children watch them, then there is no call to complain that it's not appropriate for them. Also, as someone else mentioned, what the heck are kids too young for a TV14 show doing up until 10 anyway? Most of the shows I watch are not kid friendly, so I tape 'em all and watch 'em when they're not around.



However, there is one thing he mentioned that I totally agree with, and that is the promotions. There have been a number of ads for adult programs, and even the late news on some channels, which air much earlier in the day, often during family friendly programs, which do cross the line into inappropriate content. The same standards should apply to the ads as should apply to the shows. What good is it to rate a show for adults, and only show it later at night, and then to put the gory bits on tv at 4pm? And don't market the show to a younger audience than what it's intended for. I haven't noticed that with Heroes, or CSI, but a number of shows have had awfully kid-friendly ad campaigns for a show that's very much not meant for kids.
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Spielberg should go further but he doesn't. How about the Gay Agenda". Why are we letting TV dictate to us that being gay is a cool thing? It isn't!!!! Too much sex and bad attitudes are a negative influence. Why doesn't he say something about that?
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If he doesn't want his kids to see good tv, then he should really send them to their room before it starts, cause Heroes and CSI are all about weird things happening...
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i had this whole rant about speilberg and lucas and how they should stick to ruining their old movies, but then i remembered very few of those movies i actually liked, so it would be kind of a waste of a post.

instead i'll just say that i thought we were passed this whole tv is the babysitter thing, parents, explain things to your kids, it'll make them better people. sure you could just stop them watching anything controversial, but sooner or later they will see or hear something somewhere, and not know what to make of it, and they won't want to come to you. film-makers, if you think the current state of the media is so bad, adjust your future films accordingly, don't preach about it to everyone else, that way we'll all get on much better
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Well, you know shows like Heroes were advitised as family shows. And the title along makes it sound like it's something that is child-friendly. And by the way it is harder for poor families who don't have cable channels like Nickeoledeon, Discovery Channel and Disney Channel. I do not believe in forcing the networks to cool it down, becaus I strongly believe in the freedom of speech but I think they should be more considerate of what they air.
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Steven Spielberg has tried producing TV series on his own...with very little success. I'm not talking about his animated "hits" like "TINY TOON ADVENTURES" and "ANIMANIACS"-- I mean "AMAZING STORIES" and "THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES", which looked good, but had nothing "inside" of them to attract a mass audience. The only successful TV series he's "associated" with is "ER"...and he's not directly involved in the production! Perhaps when "wide" TV screens are the norm, he'll be able to produce the kind of series he thinks will bring "the family" back together in the living room.
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If his kids are too young to watch the violence in Heroes then what are they doing up post 9 o'clock?
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Some things are going to be lost on a 3 inch screen, I agree.

Writing that occasionally shows up in scenes is of course not going to be legible, or perhaps even visible.

I have not watched a movie on a video iPod yet, but I think portable video viewing is a reality. Public transit commuters can use it. Students can use it. People on vacations can use it - though if they cart their kids around in one of those gas guzzling mobile living rooms, they already have a portable TV screen. I would assume they could jack the video out from the iPod into that, though.

I think he is completely wrong about the theater, though.

In the 1980s and 1990s, I used to go to movies a fair bit. And the cinemas were pretty darned crowded. Sometimes they would be sold out if you got there just before a popular film showed.

Since 2000, I go to the theater only a couple times a year. I have a decent sound system no my digital home theaters and my computers. I can really enjoy DVDs that way at home. And, I can prepare myself a tasty, healthy, full meal to eat while I watch. If I want popcorn, I can have it hot and fresh in about 3 minutes by simply pushing one button on the microwave.

At the theater, a soda is almost five bucks, popcorn is about the same, and a junk-food like meal is almost ten bucks. It is kind of just a big snack too, not healthy at all.

These days, I go to the theater and there are like 4 or 5 people in the whole room. The room has like 295 empty seats. If that does not say danger, I do not know what does.
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Hey I love Spielberg but's it's not my job to raise his kids nor should he want me too. I have a ten year old and I have made the choice that she not watch shows that I feel are to graphic. SS should do the same. He makes the comment about tv 20 years ago and I could say there were very few positive African American's on tv then. Comment on that!
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It's not easy to watch your kids 24\7, but don't force the rest of the world to babysit your kids for you. If Spielberg wants violence toned down, why do that for his movies and any future shows he makes? It's not fair to the rest of us.
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Yeah the TV networks should be wary of what they put on the air such as crappy shows like Suvivor, The Apprentice, Fear Factor, The Simple Life etc. These shows must be banned for their lameness. These shows will make people's brains dumber and dumber.
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I have to agree with Tami-H. It isn't anyones responsiblity what kids watch except for their parents. As a parent I am the sole person who is responsible for what he watches not anyone else. If a parent lets there 13 year old watch a rated R movie it's not the directors fault or the actors who play in the movie it's the parents fault and only the parents fault.
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I respect Spielberg as a filmmaker, but, hey: should filmmakers tone down what's in their movies because irresponsible parents might take their preteen children into PG-13 (or NC-17, etc.) movies? Ditto TV. It's the parents' responsibility to be sure their children aren't watching content that isn't suitable for their age.
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I happen to think Heroes has just the right amount of gore. Not too much, not too little.
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lets all do what the old millionare says! is that how life works?
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Spielster .?!
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It's amazing that gore is passing as entertainment these days. I'd rather sit down to a good ol' sitcom.
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He'd better not go and mess up heroes for me, cause if he does he can go **** himself!!!!!!
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Yeah, American television has been very low on the violence so many years ago, and today America is being run by complete homophobic, prude, crazy-christian and other kinds of stupid people. The lengths they went to over the entire nipplegate thing is just insane!
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