Worried about FCC sactions; film must run uncut
NEW YORK (AP) -- More than 20 ABC affiliates around the country, including two in Ohio, have announced that they won't take part in the network's Veterans Day airing of "Saving Private Ryan," saying the acclaimed film's violence and language could draw sanctions from the Federal Communications Commission.
The decisions mark a twist in the conflict over the aggressive stand the FCC has taken against obscenity and profanity since Janet Jackson flashed the world during the last Super Bowl halftime show.
Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie aired on ABC with relatively little controversy in 2001 and 2002, but station owners -- including several in large markets -- are unnerved that airing it Thursday could bring federal punishment. The film includes a violent depiction of the D-Day invasion and profanity.
"It would clearly have been our preference to run the movie. We think it's a patriotic, artistic tribute to our fighting forces," Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, told AP Radio. The company owns three ABC affiliates in the Midwest.
Cole cited recent FCC actions and last week's re-election of President Bush as reasons for replacing "Saving Private Ryan" on Thursday with a music program and the TV movie "Return to Mayberry." [CNN.com]
I don't know about you, but I certainly find "Return to Mayberry" to be much more offensive than "Saving Private Ryan". I really hope this isn't some kind of sign of what TV will be like in the near future.