ABC mounts rear guard action


The 1.4M+ fine levied against ABC affiliates by the FCC for an episode of "NYPD Blue" aired back in 2003 will be appealed by Disney/ABC. The show was aired in the 10PM safe harbor zone in the Eastern and Pacific time zones, but that translated to 9PM in the Central and Mountain zones. The FCC found fault with a scene showing bare female buttocks; ABC is countering that the "realistic nature" of the program’s story lines was well known and that the FCC charges fail to hold water.

TVBR/RBR observation: While the usual watchdogs, like PTC, were highly offended by this program, the FCC had to bend and stretch the rules to justify the fine, eventually pinning it to "common sense." As Jack Valenti used to say, if you can’t define the crime, you can’t issue the fine. The FCC is most likely headed for yet another loss in the courts.