NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Finds Television Getting Even More Vulgar

August 2, 2001

Television is rapidly becoming a medium of vulgar language and violence, according to a fifth review by the Parents Television Council. The study focused on this season's 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot (Eastern Standard Time) -- which was once known as the "family hour."

  • Overall, there were 8.41 instances of objectionable material broadcast per hour on the six broadcast networks reviewed -- twice as high as the 1998 rate.
  • United Paramount Network led all competitors in incidents of vulgarity, broadcasting 18.1 offensive incidents per hour -- up from 2.89 per hour as recently as 1997.
  • CBS registered the least amount of objectionable content -- at 3.22 incidents per hour.
  • Sexual content this season declined from the previous season -- to an average of 3.08 incidents per hour -- but references to sexual activities that were once considered taboo during the family hour increased.

There were an average of 2.57 incidents of foul language per hour, up 78 percent from the previous year. Violence escalated from 1.62 incidents in the 1999-2000 season to 2.75 incidents in the 2000-2001 season.

In both the foul language and violence categories, UPN led the pack.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "TV's 'Family Hour' Invaded by Offensive Programming," Washington Times, August 2, 2001; based on "The Sour Family Hour: 8 to 9 Goes from Bad to Worse," Parents Television Council, 707 Wilshire Boulevard #1950, Los Angeles, Calif. 90017, (213) 629-9255.


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