FCC Fines ABC For 2003 'NYPD Blue' Episode
January 28, 2008 at 5:27 AM (PT)
For the first time since NOVEMBER OF 2006, Yhe FCC has issued a fine for alleged indecency, but in this instance it's not about words, but visuals. The Commission has slapped several ABC-TV affiliates in the Central and Mountain time zones with proposed fines totaling $1.43 million for a 2003 episode of "NYPD BLUE" in which a woman's nude backside and side are briefly glimpsed.
Each one of 52 stations were assessed a $27,500 fine for the show; stations in the Eastern and Western time zones escaped the fines because they aired the show after the 10p "safe harbor" local time.
In a statement issued after the fine was announced, the network said that it will appeal the ruling because it "feels strongly that the FCC's finding is inconsistent with prior precedent from the Commission." But Commissioner DEBORAH TAYLOR TATE said, "Our action today should serve as a reminder to all broadcasters that Congress and American families continue to be concerned about protecting children from harmful material and that the FCC will enforce the laws of the land vigilantly. In fact, pursuant to the Broadcast Decency Act of 2005, Congress increased the maximum authorized fines ten-fold. The law is simple. If a broadcaster makes the decision to show indecent programming, it must air between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This is neither difficult to understand nor burdensome to implement."
Left unexplained is why the FCC would dredge up an incident that's almost six years old, that was broadcast (and complained about) before KEVIN MARTIN was named Chairman -- and TATE AND ROBERT MCDOWELL were even members of the Commission. It may just be a coincidence, but it should be noted that 2008 is an election year.