WB streams naughty show uncut on Web

The WB television network, seeking to avoid the ire of federal regulators, debuts its new sexually charged series The Bedford Diaries Wednesday with some of the more suggestive shots removed.

Viewers who prefer to see the show as its creators originally intended, including scenes of two female college students kissing and another upzipping her pants, can watch an uncut "streaming" version on the network's Web site.

Julie Martin, one of the show's executive producers, said Wednesday the version of the episode offered on the Web was the one originally approved by network censors after some initial alterations.

She said the WB insisted on additional cuts in response to the Federal Communications Commission proposing a record $3.6 million in fines earlier this month against CBS stations for an episode of the crime drama Without a Trace depicting teenagers engaged in group sex.

The FCC also upheld $550,000 in penalties against CBS stations for Janet Jackson's breast-baring Super Bowl halftime performance.

Martin told Reuters that she and fellow executive producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson refused to make further cuts in their show themselves because they "felt that was giving into unreasonable censorship or fear of censorship."

She quoted Fontana, the series cocreator whose past TV credits include Homicide: Life on the Street and Oz, as telling the WB, "If you believe the show is indecent, don't air the show."

The WB, jointly owned by Time Warner Inc. and the Tribune Co. , said in a statement the network had "always been mindful of the FCC's indecency rules."

"While we believe that the previous version of The Bedford Diaries is in keeping with those rules, out of an abundance of caution, we decided to make some additional changes to the premiere episode," the youth-oriented network said.

The series centers on a group of college students taking a course in human behavior and sexuality who are assigned to keep a video journal on each week's classroom topic.

"I don't think there's anything there that hasn't been shown on television before," Martin said, adding the show's depiction of sexual behavior was being taken out of context.

"The context of the sexual discussion that we're having is actually recommending for kids to be more responsible and more thoughtful about their sexual experiences and not to take sex as casually as people have in the past," she said.

The WB is slated to be shut down this spring along with CBS Corp.-owned UPN, and both will be replaced in the fall with a new network called the CW.

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