- As executives from Viacom Inc. and the NFL head to Washington today to answer questions about sex and profanity on TV, [webcast just ended live here] network censors are sharpening their scissors.
CBS, a unit of Viacom, last week deleted a brief scene showing a fleeing man's naked backside from "Without a Trace." The network has forced a trim from a coming episode of the missing-persons drama, this time a depiction of a couple having sex standing up, sources said. Edits also are affecting CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
At Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, executives said they had preliminary discussions about trimming a 15-second sex scene from "NYPD Blue," which returned to the schedule Tuesday night after a two-month hiatus. The footage would be deleted from telecasts in the Central and Mountain time zones, where the series airs one hour earlier than on the coasts and presumably is seen by younger viewers. The 10 p.m. hour is where virtually all envelope-pushing dramas run on the broadcast networks.
General Electric Co.'s NBC last week trimmed a shot of an elderly woman's breast from an episode of "ER." The network acted under pressure from affiliate stations that were nervous after the hubbub over Janet Jackson's breast being bared during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show on CBS.
The networks' newfound skittishness about nudity is in sharp contrast to their practice of the last few years, when they all took halting steps to match cable networks in pushing edgier, more-explicit programming.
The premiere last year of the NBC mid-season drama "Kingpin" showed a crime lord's pet tiger being fed a victim's severed leg, and nudity and salty language are staples on "NYPD Blue."